TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Michael Pineda made a strong pitch to be in the New York Yankees' rotation.
Pineda allowed one run and five hits over five innings in the Yankees' 1-1, 10-inning tie with a Detroit Tigers split squad on Sunday.
``Seems like he's putting it all together,' New York catcher Russell Martin said.
Pineda is competing with Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia for three starting spots behind opening-day starter CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda.
``I'm focusing on making good pitches,' Pineda said. ``I feel a little more confident on the mound.'
Derek Jeter hit a leadoff homer in the first for the Yankees. The New York captain, who also had a double, played for the second time in three days after missing eight days because of a stiff left calf.
``My leg is fine,' Jeter said. ``I haven't run hard, but I haven't had to. I'm making progress. I'm happy where I'm at.'
New York's Alex Rodriguez was hit on the left side by a Brayan Villarreal pitch in the seventh and left the game. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said A-Rod was examined, is OK and is expected to play in the team's next game on Tuesday night.
Left-hander Duane Below, among three candidates for the Tigers' fifth starter spot, gave up one run and three hits in 3 2-3 innings. Ramon Santiago had an RBI triple in the third.
``I'm judging by what I see,' Detroit manager Jim Leyland said of the rotation competition.
Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain was released from a hospital Sunday, three days after dislocating his right ankle bouncing on a trampoline. He will be in a cast for six weeks and there is no timeframe for his return.
``I am optimistic that he's going to pitch for us this year,' Girardi said.
Detroit right-hander Doug Fister, who left his previous outing Friday in the fifth inning of because of soreness in his right middle finger, is improving. It hasn't been decided whether the right-hander will make next scheduled start.
``It's much better,' Leyland said. ``A little stiff, not sore. I don't forsee any problems, but like I said the other day, I don't look at anything as a minor injury when you start messing around with your key guys.'
Leyland also is focusing on bullpen depth, in which Below could also be a candidate.
``I know I've got a fifth starter, I don't know who it is, but I know I've got one,' Leyland said. ``So, I'm real bearing down on this bullpen situation. I'm a big bullpen guy. To me, that is a huge piece of this puzzle.'
Collin Balester replaced Below in the third and proceeded to load the bases, but got out of the jam by getting a grounder from Jeter. The right-hander gave up four walks and two hits in 2 1/3 shutout innings.
New York eighth-inning set-up man David Robertson, coming back from a bruised right foot, gave up one hit in a scoreless eighth.
``Didn't have any problems,' said Robertson, who expects to be ready for opening day.
New York closer Mariano Rivera threw his sixth shutout inning of the spring, but did give up his first hit, a sixth-inning double to Delmon Young. The right-hander extended his stretch of not allowing an earned run in spring training to 27 consecutive innings, dating back to 2008.
NOTES: Detroit LF Quintin Berry made two strong catches, including a full-out diving grab on Dewayne Wise's drive in the ninth. ... Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte, who ended his brief retirement by agreeing to a minor league contract on March 16, is scheduled to throw batting practice for the second time Tuesday. He could pitch in a spring training game before the team breaks camp. ... New York RF Nick Swisher could return Tuesday from a groin injury. ... Hughes is to pitch in a minor league game Monday, which is an offday for the Yankees. ... New York optioned INF Ramiro Pena to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and reassigned RHPs Manny Delcarmen and Kevin Whelan, C Jose Gil, and OFs OF Colin Curtis and Cole Garner to its minor league camp.
The Associated Press News Service
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