TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The New York Yankees got good news about two injured outfielders.
Curtis Granderson went 1 for 4 after missing two games because of right elbow soreness but the Yankees lost 4-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.
``Curtis was great,' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Granderson, the designated hitter, singled in the third. The center fielder could play defense on Friday night.
``I hope so,' Granderson said. ``Everything is good.'
New York right fielder Nick Swisher, out with a groin injury, hit in a minor league game for the second straight day. It hasn't been decided if Swisher will play another game in the minors or rejoin the Yankees on Friday.
``We'll see where he's at,' Girardi said.
Rotation candidate Ivan Nova pitched in a Triple-A game instead of facing the Orioles, giving up three runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings. The Yankees play their second series of the regular season at Baltimore.
``He looked pretty good,' Girardi said of Nova, a 16-game winner last season. ``I think you have to look at everything, but you also have to look at his body of work from last year, too.'
Orioles starter Jason Hammel went 5 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits. Matt Wieters had a double and triple in three at_bats, and is 10 for his last 13.
``Pretty much everything I was working on I'm happy with,' Hammel said. ``The results were good. Real good execution.'
Baltimore infielder J.J. Hardy, sidelined by a right shoulder injury, is expected to return Friday.
``Looks like it,' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ``I made the lineup (for Friday) and he's in it.'
New York closer Mariano Rivera gave up his second hit this spring during a scoreless sixth. The right-hander has not allowed a run in seven innings overall, and also extended his streak of not allowing an earned run in spring training - dating back to 2008 - to 28 consecutive innings.
Raul Ibanez hit a long solo homer off Hammel and added an RBI single.
``Worked on getting the two-seamer in action, and except for one that probably went 900 feet, I was real happy with it,' Hammel said.
New York has four pitchers, Nova, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia and Michael Pineda competing for three starting slots behind opening-day starter CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda.
``We're just not quite there yet,' Girardi said. ``Yankeeland, it's wins. We've got to do what's best for this year.'
Hughes is considered a frontrunner for one spot. Garcia will pitch in the minors Friday, while Pineda goes against Philadelphia in the big league game.
``I think these starts at the end are a lot more important than the one's at the beginning,' Girardi said.
Girardi said the pitcher that loses out is not guarantee a spot in the bullpen.
Andy Pettitte, who ended a brief retirement after agreeing to a minor league contract on March 16, had a bullpen session and might pitch in a spring training game next week.
``I've been happy with what I've seen,' Girardi said.
Before the game Baltimore announced that left-hander Dana Eveland, who had been bidding for a starting role, had been designated for assignment.
``It just didn't look he was going to make our club out of spring (training),' Showalter said.
The Orioles claimed infielder Zelous Wheeler off waivers from Milwaukee.
NOTES: Baltimore OF Endy Chavez (groin) remains day to day. . ... New York reliever Rafael Soriano allowed one run and two hits over one inning in a Double-A game. He threw 23 pitches, including 12 to a batter that tripled. ... The Yankees signed INF/OF Steve Pearce to a minor league contract. He played for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Thursday.
The Associated Press News Service
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