S.T. Game 1. Cano, Almonte HRs spark 8-3 Yankees win.

Robinson Cano and Zoilo Almonte each homered, and David Phelps pitched two scoreless innings as the Yankees beat the Braves 8-3 in their spring training opener.

Almonte is a 23 year old switch-hitter who had a good camp last year. He is expected to begin this season at AAA. In AA last year he hit .277-21-70 in 106 games, stealing 15 bases in the process. His BB/K ratio needs some work, 25/103.

Almonte also had an outfield assist in the game.

2B Jose Pirela, who replaced Cano, went 2 for 2 with an RBI. Pirela, a 23 yr. old, righty-hitting 2B, hit .293-8-33, 9 SB in 82 games at AA Trenton last year.

In the competition for righty-hitting OF (and we can’t count out the switch-hitting Almonte), Juan Rivera DH’d today, going 1 for 2 with a walk, while Matt Diaz went 0 for 3 as the left fielder.

In the catching competition, Francisco Cervelli started and went 0 for 2 with a walk while Austin Romine went 1 for 2 and drove in 2 runs. Cervelli did throw out a runner attempting to steal.

Phelps, battling Ivan Nova for the 5 spot in the rotation, pitched 2 innings, giving up 0 runs on 3 hits. He didn’t walk or strike out anyone.

Brett Marshall gave up a run in 2 IP, Nik Turley pitched a scoreless inning, Mikey O’Brien gave up 2 runs in his inning of work, and Kelvin Perez, Brandon Pinder and Chase Whitley each pitched a scoreless inning.

The Yanks will open the home part of their exhibition season tomorrow. YES will have the game, and it’ll be broadcast on WCBS 880 AM radio as well.

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