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Yankees fall to Pirates in Florida finale

Boone Logan hurt, Juan Rivera released, days before opener
03/28/2013 4:25 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

After a strong effort against the Pirates, Hiroki Kuroda is ready for the regular season.(AP)
The Florida portion of the Yankees' spring schedule is complete, closed out with a tough 2-1 loss to the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Thursday afternoon.

The first six innings were a breeze, as Hiroki Kuroda and Pirates starter Jeff Locke matched zeroes;, with the Yankees veteran retiring the first 10 batters he faced and allowing just one baserunner (courtesy of a Garrett Jones single in the fourth) while striking out five.

However, one night after a wild seventh inning spurred the Yankees to victory, it was a tough seventh that cost them their Florida finale and may have cost them one of their key relievers, lefty Boone Logan.

The southpaw relieved Kuroda to start the seventh and walked Travis Snider to open the inning, then took a line drive off the bat of ex-Yankees farmhand Jose Tabata off his left hip; Tabata reached and Snider advanced to second on the play, and Logan had to leave the game in obvious pain.

David Aardsma came in to replace Logan, but he uncorked a wild pitch that, when combined with a rare throwing error by Francisco Cervelli, allowed Snider to score (with the run charged to Logan) and Tabata to advance to second. Aardsma then got Stefan Welch to ground out, but Jeff Larish laced an RBI single that made it 2-0. Aardsma would later walk Michael McKenry before being relieved by Cody Eppley, but Eppley worked out of the two-on, two-out jam by striking out Josh Harrison.

The Yankees would rally in the ninth, but fall just short; with two on and two out, Lyle Overbay doubled to left to score Thomas Neal (who had doubled with one out) and move Casey Stevenson (who pinch-ran for Travis Hafner after Hafner was hit by a pitch) to third, but Ethan Hollinsworth would struck out pinch-hitter Dan Johnson looking to end the game.

Overall, the Yankees had seven hits from seven different players, with Neal and Overbay's ninth-inning doubles the big blows. Robinson Cano, Kevin Youkilis, Ichiro Suzuki, Brennan Boesch, and Cervelli had the other five hits, and Jayson Nix drew the only base on balls issued by Pirates pitchers.

On the mound, Kuroda was superb, and Logan ended up being charged with both runs despite pitching to only two batters; Aardsma was credited with just one hit and one walk in his two-thirds of an inning, Eppley gave up a hit and struck out one in 1.1 frames, and Jim Miller worked around a pair of walks in pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

With the loss, the Yankees finish the Florida portion of their spring slate with an overall record of 13-19-1, and will now head north to face the Nationals in Washington, D.C. on Friday before finishing the exhibition season with a game against Army in West Point, N.Y., on Saturday.

Logan was, as of Thursday morning, listed to pitch in relief of Andy Pettitte in Friday's game, and after being hit by the line drive, he joked with the media that it hit him "in the fat" and he still expects to pitch as scheduled in DC.

Whether or not that happens is to be determined, but the Yankees did make a few roster decisions before leaving Florida for good. One of them was announced mere moments after the game ended, when the team announced they had released outfielder/first baseman Juan Rivera from his Minor League deal; today was the deadline for the Yankees to add him to the 40-man roster or let him go, and Rivera told the media afterward that he was told that newly-acquired Lyle Overbay was being kept as the interim first baseman and Ben Francisco would be retained as the team's fourth outfielder. Joe Girardi also announced that third baseman/outfielder Ronnier Mustelier has a bone bruise in his knee, an injury that has taken him out of the running for the Opening Day roster; Mustelier will not accompany the team up north for the final two games, instead staying behind in Tampa while he heals.

General manager Brian Cashman would not confirm Rivera or Girardi's statements officially, but did tell the media that Overbay, Francisco, and Brennan Boesch "have the inside track" on three of the four open roster spots.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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