TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Even after hitting another home run, Alex Rodriguez was impressed by Pittsburgh opening-day starter Kevin Correia.
A-Rod connected for his sixth homer of spring training and the New York Yankees beat the Pirates 4-2 on Saturday.
Rodriguez cracked a two-run shot to center off Correia in the first inning. The slugger flied out and hit a grounder in his other at-bats against the right-hander.
“He threw the ball very well,” Rodriguez said. “He keeps the ball down, throws strikes. He attacks hitters, has good stuff.”
Correia allowed three runs and five hits over six innings with two walks and five strikeouts. Jason Jaramillo had an RBI double for Pittsburgh.
Rodriguez has at least one RBI in nine of his last 10 games.
Earlier in the day, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia will be in the rotation, with Bartolo Colon earning a bullpen spot.
Chris Dickerson, acquired by the Yankees from Milwaukee for pitcher Sergio Mitre on Friday, had three hits, including a run-scoring single. The backup outfield candidate left in the seventh with a left leg injury that occurred while running the bases.
“We think it’s cramps, but obviously we’re not going to know until tomorrow,” Girardi said.
New York starting catcher Russell Martin will not play until Monday because of left hamstring stiffness.
Girardi continues to look at Brett Gardner hitting leadoff, with Derek Jeter batting No. 2.
“Still a topic of discussion,” Girardi said.
Jeter hitting first, and the pair sharing the leadoff spot based on whether a left-hander or right-hander is pitching also remain options.
Promising left-hander Manny Banuelos gave up one run and two hits over three innings for the Yankees. He is expected to start the season with Double-A Trenton.
New York closer Mariano Rivera allowed two hits during a scoreless fourth. He has given up three hits in five shutout innings overall.
NOTES: Rodriguez has homered in five of his last eight games. … Pittsburgh C Chris Snyder didn’t play due to back soreness. … LHP CC Sabathia, the Yankees’ opening-day starter, threw three innings in a minor league game. … Pirates RHP James McDonald pitched in a Triple-A game, allowing one run and four hits in three innings. … Banuelos struck out three and walked three. … Pittsburgh sent LHP Brian Burres, C Dusty Brown, INF Andy Marte and INF-OF Corey Wimberley to its minor league camp.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)