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New York at Tampa Bay

Scoreboard
N.Y. Yankees (6-11) «000000030383
Tampa Bay (11-7)000000010171

Yankees 3, Rays 1

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) - Ivan Nova is more concerned with showing improvement than where he stands in his bid to be the New York Yankees' fifth starter.

The right-hander continued to make a case to begin the season in the rotation by pitching four scoreless innings Tuesday during a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I'm not thinking about if I'm doing enough. I just know that I'm doing my job and pitching well," Nova said after yielding four hits, walking none and striking out two in his third exhibition start. He's allowed one run and eight hits over nine innings this spring.

Nova is trying to make the rotation after faltering down the stretch last season, when he finished 12-8 with a 5.02 ERA last year - down from 16-4 the year before. His main competition is David Phelps, a 26-year-old right-hander who went 4-4 as a rookie last year, and has given up one run in 14 innings over four starts this spring.

Manager Joe Girardi said the best thing Nova did Tuesday was work through a potentially troublesome fourth inning after the Rays put runners at first and third with no outs.

"Those are things you need to be able to do to be a successful pitcher," Girardi said.

The Yankees scored three runs in the eighth, two of them on Bobby Wilson's pinch-hit single. Mike Fontenot drove in Tampa Bay's run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.

On a day the Rays selected AL Cy Young Award winner David Price as their opening day starter, right-hander Alex Cobb built on a solid spring showing by working five scoreless innings.

The opening day assignment will be the second of Price's career. The three-time All-Star also was given the honor in 2011.

"It's special to me to run out on that field first," said Price, who went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 31 starts in last year, when he edged Detroit's Justin Verlander by four points in Cy Young balloting.

"Like I've said, I don't want to just be best on a staff, I want to be the best in baseball," the 27-year-old left-hander added. "That's what I strive to be year in and year out. This is a starting point."

Meanwhile, Yankees captain Derek Jeter said in Tampa that on Wednesday night he will play at shortstop in a game for the first time since breaking his left ankle in the playoffs last October.

"I'll be out there," said Jeter, who did not make the trip to Port Charlotte.

Wednesday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies will also feature the spring debut for Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.

Nova gave up singles to Kelly Johnson and Leslie Anderson to begin the fourth. The Yankees starter escaped the jam when Ryan Roberts lined to third, Anderson was caught stealing and Sean Rodriguez struck out.

Girardi said before the game that Nova is "hungry to earn a job" after struggling last season.

"When you run through the bumps, you've got to figure it out. I noticed frustration, which I think is pretty normal for players when they're struggling," the manager said. "That's probably the longest period of time that he's ever went through something like that. In the long run I think it's going to make him better. But in the short term, it's hard to go through."

NOTES: The Rays optioned right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi and left-hander Alex Torres to Triple-A Durham. ... LHP CC Sabathia, the Yankees' expected opening day starter, had a mound session in preparation for his first spring start on Friday. ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira, out until at least May due to a sprained right wrist tendon, will rejoin the team this weekend.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
New York

T. Neal
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
Tampa Bay

A. Cobb
IP 5.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 0
K 6
 

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New York Yankees
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Eduardo Nunez, SS3000011 .138
    Gil Velazquez, SS1010000 .333
Jayson Nix, 3B3000020 .200
    Ronnier Mustelier, 3B1010000 .333
Travis Hafner, DH4000032 .167
Juan Rivera, 1B3010000 .345
    Dan Johnson, 1B1000000 .053
Francisco Cervelli, C3010010 .227
    Walter Ibarra, PR-2B1110000 .500
Melky Mesa, CF-LF^RF4000012 .194
Thomas Neal, LF-RF3120000 .333
   a- Addison Maruszak, PH-LF1000001 .150
Zoilo Almonte, RF2000011 .190
    Slade Heathcott, CF1101000 .200
Corban Joseph, 2B2000001 .200
   b- Bobby Wilson, PH-C1012000 .231
Totals3438309  
a-grounded out for Neal in the 9th
b-singled for Joseph in the 8th
Batting
RBI - Slade Heathcott (1), Bobby Wilson 2 (2)
SB - Thomas Neal (2, 2nd base off Cobb/Gimenez)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Zoilo Almonte (2, Misplayed grounder), Ronnier Mustelier (1, Misplayed grounder), Eduardo Nunez (2, Throwing)
New York Yankees
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ivan Nova 4400020 1.00
Brett Marshall (W,1-0) 3.2210130 2.84
Josh Spence (H,3) 0.1000000 0.00
Matthew Tracy (S,1) 1100010 0.00
WP - Brett Marshall (1)
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ivan Nova 3-6, Brett Marshall 6-3
Batters Faced - Ivan Nova 15, Brett Marshall 15, Josh Spence 1, Matthew Tracy 4
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, CF3000010 .350
    Robinson Chirinos, C1000001 .250
Mike Fontenot, 2B3011000 .250
Kelly Johnson, 1B3010011 .192
    Jason Bourgeois, CF1010000 .368
Leslie Anderson, DH4010003 .389
Ryan Roberts, 3B3000002 .231
    Cole Figueroa, 3B1010000 .400
Sean Rodriguez, LF3010021 .161
    Stephen Vogt, LF1000001 .261
Wil Myers, RF3010000 .276
    Rich Thompson, RF0000000 .286
   a- Brandon Guyer, PH1000011 .313
Chris Gimenez, C2000002 .423
    Shelley Duncan, 1B1100101 .179
Hak-Ju Lee, SS3000010 .176
Totals3317116  
a-struck out for Thompson in the 9th
Batting
2B - Cole Figueroa (4, Tracy)
SF - Mike Fontenot (1)
RBI - Mike Fontenot (3)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Stephen Vogt 1
DP - Fontenot-Johnson
E - Hak-Ju Lee (4, Misplayed grounder)
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Alex Cobb 5200060 1.29
Cesar Ramos 1000010 2.25
Brandon Gomes 1000010 0.00
Dane De La Rosa (L,0-1) 1531010 2.45
Will Inman 1100000 0.00
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alex Cobb 5-3, Cesar Ramos 1-1, Dane De La Rosa 1-1, Will Inman 1-2
Batters Faced - Alex Cobb 16, Cesar Ramos 3, Brandon Gomes 3, Dane De La Rosa 8, Will Inman 4
Game Information
Attendance - 6629
Game Time - 2:41
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Toby Basner, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Travis Carlson, Third Base - Chad Whitson