CC's start turns sour; Yanks fall to Braves
Ace stumbles late in final outing before Opening Night
BRAVES 9, YANKEES (ss) 6
at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Tuesday, March 30
Yankees at the plate: Jorge Posada victimized his former teammate Scott Proctor with a game-tying, two-run seventh-inning homer. The veteran catcher also contributed a first-inning single that set the stage for Robinson Cano to begin his two-hit performance with an RBI double. Nick Swisher hit his first homer of the exhibition season in the fourth inning off Kenshin Kawakami.Braves at the plate: Troy Glaus displayed some of the power he has lacked this spring with a pair of doubles off CC Sabathia. His fifth-inning RBI double appeared to clear the center-field wall for what would have been his first homer of the exhibition season. But after Yankees manager Joe Girardi argued, umpires ruled the hit to be a ground-rule double. Coming into the day, just one of Glaus' 14 hits had gone for extra bases. Yankees on the mound: Sabathia ended his exhibition season on a rough note as the Braves damaged him with five earned runs and eight hits in just 4 2/3 innings. First-inning doubles by Melky Cabrera and Chipper Jones set the tone for the big left-hander, who also allowed a fourth-inning two-run homer to Clint Sammons. Sabathia allowed 15 earned runs and 22 hits in his final 16 2/3 Grapefruit League innings.
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Braves on the mound: Kawakami provided a second consecutive strong start while limiting the Yankees to two runs -- one earned -- and five hits in five innings. The odds of Proctor beginning the year in the Braves bullpen were further reduced when he allowed Posada's homer. The right-handed reliever, who is less than 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery, has allowed homers in each of his past two outings.Worth noting: The ambidextrous Pat Venditte allowed one earned run and two hits while working 1 1/3 innings for New York in his first appearance against Major Leaguers. The 24-year-old reliever pitched right-handed to four of the seven batters he faced and was only damaged by Matt Young's sacrifice fly. Venditte ended his outing by throwing right-handed to switch-hitter Brooks Conrad, who grounded out. Grapefruit League records: Yankees 11-14; Braves 16-9-1 Up next: The Braves will wrap up the Disney portion of their Grapefruit League schedule on Wednesday afternoon, when they send Derek Lowe to the mound to face the Astros in a 1:05 ET game airing live on MLB.TV. Lowe will be making his final preparations for his Opening Day start against the Cubs on Monday. Right-hander Jesse Chavez and left-hander Jonny Venters will attempt to improve their positions in the battle for the final two bullpen spots.
Phil Hughes will make his final start of the exhibition season on Wednesday afternoon, when the Yankees oppose the Twins at 1:05 p.m. ET live on MLB.TV. Hughes, who has already won the fifth spot in the rotation, could begin the season in the Minors because his first turn isn't scheduled until April 17.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.