CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - Hiroki Kuroda tipped his cap to his Yankees teammates after another job well done.
The newcomer to the New York rotation pitched solidly into the sixth inning and Robinson Cano got three hits Friday as a split squad of Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3.
Kuroda gave up one run and six hits in 5 2-3 innings of his fourth spring outing. He's expected to make one more exhibition start.
``Ready or not, the season is going to be there,' Kuroda said through a translator. ``I have to be ready.'
The 37-year-old righty from Japan signed a $10 million, one-year deal with the Yankees after going 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Facing a somewhat familiar NL opponent in the Phillies, Kuroda said he didn't feel so sharp warming up in the bullpen. He said he kept making adjustments, and he blanked Philadelphia until giving up an RBI single to John Mayberry Jr. on his final pitch.
``It's never easy when you're on the mound,' he said.
Kuroda doffed his cap as he walked toward the dugout. He struck out three and walked one.
Cano doubled twice, including a two-run liner in the first inning. Vance Worley had thrown eight straight scoreless innings before the Yankees started the game with four hard hits in a row, capped by an RBI single to the wall from Eric Chavez.
Worley struck out seven in six innings.
``I thought I made good pitches. They just came out and they put the bat on the ball. They hit it where it was pitched and took good swings,' he said.
Worley has started to work on a new changeup this year, getting the grip from Phillies ace Roy Halladay. Worley tossed a couple of his split-finger changes each inning and got mixed results.
``I just have to keep throwing it, and eventually something will happen and I'll feel comfortable,' he said.
Then again, with his spot in the rotation assured, Worley is ready to experiment in spring training.
``That's exactly how I'm looking at it. They want me to develop another pitch and now is the time to do it,' he said. ``I can't just go into the season and expect to pull it out of my pocket, you know?'
New Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon struck out two in a perfect ninth. Papelbon has allowed one run and fanned six in seven innings this spring.
NOTES: Halladay will start on opening day for the Phillies. His outing April 5 at Pittsburgh will mark the 10th straight season he has started the opener, including seven with Toronto. Cliff Lee and Worley will follow in Philadelphia's rotation, with Cole Hamels starting the home opener April 9 vs. Miami. The Phillies are still deciding who pitches beyond that. ... Phillies 2B Chase Utley returned to camp after seeing a specialist about his tendinitis-ridden knees. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. did not provide an update on his condition and Utley was unavailable to reporters. Utley, who hasn't appeared in a game this spring, is likely to miss opening day. ``I haven't seen him, but someone said he came here. But I didn't see him,' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ``I haven't been briefed, I'll sit right there until somebody comes and talks to me.' ... Phillies LF Domonic Brown was optioned to minor league camp. The 24-year-old former top prospect last appeared in a game on March 14. He's been limited to seven games with neck and right thumb injuries, and also has struggled making the transition from right to left field. ... Phillies 3B Placido Polanco was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game with a sprained left finger. ... Phillies INF Michael Martinez will be out for six to eight weeks with a broken right foot, Amaro said. ... Dante Bichette Jr. pinch-ran for the Yankees in the eighth and stayed in at third base. The son of the former major league slugger was the Yankees' top draft pick last year.
The Associated Press News Service
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