BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — After he agreed to a new contract Tuesday, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen was congratulated by Yankees infielders Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter.
“It was all around the bases,” McCutchen said. “But I didn’t get to A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez). I wasn’t on third today.”
McCutchen wasted no time living up to the second-largest contract in Pirates history, collecting two hits and two RBIs in a 7-4 exhibition victory over New York.
The Pirates and McCutchen announced a $51.5 million, six-year contract for the All-Star center fielder before the game. McCutchen set career highs in home runs (23) and RBIs (89) while stealing 23 bases last season.
“I was looking forward to it being over so I could exhale,” McCutchen said. “When I signed and shook hands with the owner, I was able to breathe and say, ‘All right, let’s go play the Yankees.'”
McCutchen hit a run-scoring single to left off CC Sabathia in the first and doubled in Clint Barmes in the third.
Sabathia pitched two innings and allowed a run and three hits. He threw 35 pitches and was pleased with the results.
“I’ve still got work to do, but my arm feels good and my body feels good. I feel strong,” Sabathia said. “Being able to throw my off-speed pitches for strikes by the end of spring is really big for me. I threw some good cutters today and a good changeup.”
Right-hander Phil Hughes reached his pitch limit in 1 1-3 innings and was charged with two runs and four hits. Hughes, who went 5-5 with a 5.79 ERA last season, is fighting for the last spot in the Yankees’ starting rotation.
“I’m in a dogfight right now, so I’ve got to pitch well,” Hughes said. “You never want to give up runs in the spring when you’re fighting for a job. I’ll have a few more outings to show the staff what I can do. I hadn’t faced hitters in so long in a game situation. I think everyone’s kind of anxious. Sometimes, It’s hard to control that.”
Hughes didn’t find the strike zone as much as he would’ve liked, but he was encouraged to hear his fastball topped out at 93 mph.
“I’m very pleased with that, especially considering I didn’t top 90 last spring,” he said. “It’s a step in the right direction. But it’s not all about fastballs. Everyone likes to get caught up in that because it lights up the gun. I need my secondary pitches as well to be successful.”
Pirates starter Kevin Correia worked two scoreless innings and issued two walks.
Yamaico Navarro, who’s trying to make the Pirates as a backup infielder, hit a two-run double in the eighth. Navarro has five hits in his past six at-bats.
NOTES: RHP Hiroki Kuroda will make his spring training debut with the Yankees on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Kuroda signed a one-year, $10-million deal in the offseason. … Yankees manager Joe Girardi said INF Eduardo Nunez likely will play on Wednesday. Nunez rested Tuesday after being hit on the right wrist by a pitch Monday. X-rays were negative. … Pirates RHP Charlie Morton will make his spring debut Wednesday in an intrasquad game. Morton had hip surgery in October.
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