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Yankees' Sabathia improves during first spring outing

TAMPA — Yankees ace CC Sabathia got stronger with each inning in his spring debut.

After a rough first inning, Sabathia worked four more innings, allowing two runs and eight hits in a 7-3 victory over the Marlins on Friday.

The Marlins scored twice on three hits and a walk in the first against Sabathia, who also was charged with an error on an errant pickoff attempt to first.

"He got better as the day went on, so I was happy," manager Joe Girardi said after the left-hander struck out two and walked one in his first game since arthroscopic surgery Oct. 25 to remove a bone spur from his left elbow.

"Felt pretty good first time out," Sabathia said. "Didn't have any problems. Changeup was good. Fastball command needs to be a little better."

"The last few innings, his fastball command was really good," C Francisco Cervelli said. "His slider was amazing the whole game."

Short hops: Derek Jeter played shortstop flawlessly for the second time since ankle surgery last fall. He went 1-for-3, hitting a single. "Everything is good," Jeter said. "Making steps. No problems." … OF Brennan Boesch, released by the Tigers, agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Yankees, who are without OF Curtis Granderson (broken forearm) until at least May.

Jays: Not alarmed

LAKELAND — Jays LHP Ricky Romero spoke of confidence even after another subpar outing pushed his ERA to 7.24.

Romero allowed three runs, including a homer, in three innings in a 4-2 loss to the Tigers.

After going 15-11 in 2011, Romero slumped to 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA in 2012. This season he moves to the back of the rotation behind acquisitions Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and R.A. Dickey.

Romero said he has a new mind-set, so his spring isn't bothering him: "I have talked with vets who say they always get their butts kicked in the spring, so I have a reason to be confident."

"He just needs to find his balance," manager John Gibbons said.

Phils: Polishing Ruf

CLEARWATER — Minor-league home run champ Darin Ruf is learning to play leftfield after playing first base almost exclusively since his days at Creighton University.

"It wasn't what I expected myself to be defensively right off the bat," said Ruf, 26. "(But) I think I've come a long way."

The Phillies were hoping Ruf would be ready for opening day to hit in their lefty-heavy lineup. But the team has no plans to rush him if his defense isn't up to par. For now it seems likely Ruf will open at Triple A Lehigh Valley.

"He really hasn't played the outfield before and it's a challenge," GM Ruben Amaro said. "It may require him some more time; it may not."

Short hop: New LHP John Lannan, who pitched for the Nats last year and vying for a rotation spot, threw five shutout innings with one walk and two hits in a 3-1 loss to the Rays.

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Yankees' Sabathia improves during first spring outing 03/15/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 11:30pm]
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