Tuesday, February 25, 2014

For the first time in 261 days, Jameis Winston lost a game at Florida State University when his FSU Seminoles were defeated by the Yankees, 8-3, Tuesday at George M. Steinbrenner in their spring training opener.

Vidal Nuno started the game for the Yankees, pitching two very quality innings, striking out three -- two in the first inning -- and giving up just an infield single.

"I felt good," he said. "Starting the season, just having everything in place right now. I got a lot of more work to do, to get done, but overall I'm happy where I'm at right now. But every day I gotta keep working at it."

Nuno said he took his usual approach into this game: throw strikes and keep hitters off balance.

“Throwing strikes, that’s my main concern about right now,” he said. “Showing the coaches that my main concern is throwing strikes. … It’s getting out there and just showing the pitching coach and the coaches that I can get out there and do that every five days.”

Nuno, in my opinion, has a much better chance of winning the fifth starter job than most people think. He showed his stuff pretty well in a few appearances with the Yankees last season, and now gets a chance to really show the Yankees' coaches what he has.

He's the real darkhorse candidate in the four-man race that includes David Phelps, Adam Warren and Michael Pineda. Phelps, by the way, will start Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Warren will get the ball against the Detroit Tigers on Friday.

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning on back-to-back doubles by Zoilo Almonte and Brendan Ryan.

Ryan has said that he was working on a new swing this offseason, and though it was just one game, anything is better than the low .200 batting average he sports each year.

Gary Sanchez, who replaced Francisco Cervelli in the bottom of the 2nd, adding the Yankees second run of the day in the 3rd inning on a foul-out to the pitcher, scoring John Ryan Murphy from third. Yeah, I hear it was a weird play. Also worth noting, Murphy went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI doubles in the game.

Yangervis Solarte made it 3-0 Yankees in the 4th inning on a line drive single to left field, scoring Dean Anna, who double a couple batters earlier. Murphy followed up with a ground-rule double that plated Adonis Garcia, and then a wild pitch scored Solarte, pushing the Yankees' lead to 5-0.

FSU struck back and put themselves in the board in the top of the 6th inning, scoring three runs on a bases-clearing double off of Shane Greene.

But the Yankees would go on to score three more runs unanswered, including a solo homerun by Ramon Flores in the 8th, taking the game against the group of college players.

“I thought the at-bats were good today. I thought we threw strikes." Girardi said. "We just played a pretty good game. We got in the one inning when he gave up a few runs — we had two outs and nobody on — but it was good baseball.”

Winston, playing against his favorite team, went 0-for-2 in the game with a groundout and a strikeout.

"It's just a privilege to be out here," Winston said. "I'm glad these guys let us come out here today."

Brett Gardner, Kelly Johnson and Cervelli all started, and only played a couple innings each. Gardner went 1-for-1 with an infield single, and both Cervelli and Johnson went 0-for-1.

The Yankees will get on the bus and travel to Bradenton tomorrow for a 1:05pm EST game against the Pirates in their first Grapefruit league game. Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran will make their spring debuts Wednesday, and are expected to play 4-5 innings each.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog and you can follow him on Twitter @GavinEwbank.


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