TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A-Rod is ready.
Alex Rodriguez drove in a run for the sixth consecutive game, rotation candidate Freddy Garcia gave up five runs and five hits over six innings and the New York Yankees tied the Toronto Blue Jays 5-5 in 10 innings Saturday.
``I've never put a lot of stock in preseason stats or preseason results,' Rodriguez said. ``For me, spring training is all about what happens pre and postgame. For the most part I've been very happy with my development and with the progress.'
Rodriguez had an RBI double in the first. The third baseman also has a hit in all 12 games he has played in.
Garcia is competing with Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Sergio Mitre for two open starting spots behind CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. New York general manager Brian Cashman said the decision on the fourth and fifth rotation spots will come ``sooner than later.'
``We just have to make a call here,' Cashman said. ``We have to make a bet. Got to bet on somebody. It's been a healthy competition. We're going to have a tough call to make here. Who we think can help us as we move forward.'
Garcia had six strikeouts.
``I feel good, but I don't want to give up five runs,' Garcia said. ``The good thing is, I pitched six innings. I don't think I pitched six last year in spring training, so that's a good sign for me.'
Garcia did retire his first nine batters before allowing three runs in the fourth.
``I'm not going to make too much of one start,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ``Obviously, you've have to continue to make pitches.'
Girardi, after the game, announced that Burnett and Hughes will follow Sabathia in the rotation.
``That's what we brought A.J. here to do, that's the bottom line,' Girardi said about Burnett being the No. 2 starter.
Brett Lawrie had an RBI single during the fourth and David Cooper hit two-run homer in the sixth for Toronto. Left-hander Brett Cecil gave up four runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings.
Toronto manager John Farrell had mixed news on injured relievers Frank Francisco and Octavio Dotel, who both had bullpen sessions.
Francisco, out with a right pectoral injury, felt continued discomfort while throwing on the mound. The right-hander was scratched from a minor-league appearance on Sunday.
``We're hopeful that opening day is still a possibility,' Farrell said. ``We've got to continue to evaluate him day to day. When he gets on the angle of the mound, that's where he feels it.'
Francisco underwent an MRI on Friday, which Farrell said showed no structural problems.
Dotel, sidelined by a left hamstring injury, showed improvement in his throwing session.
``Decreased symptoms in the hamstring,' Farrell said. ``He still showed very good arm strength, so there's no restriction for how he's letting the ball go.'
Dotel will have his status re-evaluated on Sunday.
NOTES: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera had two strikeouts during a 1-2-3 seventh. He has thrown three scoreless innings overall. ... Blue Jays 2B Aaron Hill (strained right thigh) played in the field and went 1 for 4 in a minor league game. ... Cecil walked three, struck out one and hit a batter during a 98-pitch outing. ... The Yankees optioned RHP Dellin Betances to Double-A Trenton.
The Associated Press News Service
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