TAMPA, Florida — Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 2 with a walk in his second exhibition game Friday night, a New York Yankees' split-squad 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"Some days are going to be pretty good, some days are going to be pretty bad, but again this is just a work in progress," Rodriguez said. "All I'm looking to do right now is really just square the ball and start hitting the ball with good conduct. I think like any other spring, hopefully week four and five I start driving the ball."
The three-time AL MVP, who has not played a full season since 2007 because of a drug suspension, operations on both hips and other injuries, received a mixed reaction from the fans.
Rodriguez drew a full-count walk in the second inning against Jeff Locke, had a soft lineout the next time up and then took three straight called strikes from Blake Wood in the seventh.
"The last at-bat, I don't think I saw one of those pitches," Rodriguez said, smiling. "I actually feel pretty good. So far, so good."
Rodriguez had a single in two at-bats and walked once in his exhibition debut Wednesday against Philadelphia. He has been a designated hitter so far, but manager Joe Girardi didn't rule out Rodriguez playing third base Sunday.
Tony Sanchez and Jeff Decker homered for the Pirates.
"That was absolutely well struck," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said about Sanchez's two-run opposite-field drive to right. "He's shown that power to right-center field before."
Yankees: Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka, sidelined 2 1/2 months last season with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, is scheduled for his first simulated game Saturday. ... Non-roster RHP Scott Baker is Saturday's scheduled starter against Houston.
Pirates: Locke, bidding for the final rotation spot, allowed one hit, walked one and struck out two over two scoreless innings.
"I didn't come into camp with that outlook of, 'Hey, you're competing for a spot on the team. You've got to go out and have the best camp you can have,'" Locke said.
Yankees: Chris Capuano gave up two runs, three hits, including Sanchez's homer, and struck out four in two innings.
Pirates: 3B Josh Harrison (left ankle) didn't make the trip.
Yankees: RF Carlos Beltran played for the first time since having right elbow surgery Sept. 30. He struck out in both at-bats right-handed and drew a walk left-handed.
"The thing is I'm pain-free," Beltran said. "Now it's time to continue to get better."
Minor leaguer Jaron Long, the son of former Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, was the winner after throwing a perfect third-inning in New York's 4-1 victory in Friday's other game against Philadelphia.
Outfielder prospect Michael O'Neill, the nephew of former Yankees' star Paul O'Neill, struck out in his only at-bat.
The Yankee added former major league 1B Mat Gamel, coming back from a significant knee injury, to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre roster.
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