KISSIMMEE — Alex Rodriguez played first base for the first time in his professional career Sunday, handling three chances in three innings during the Yankees' 7-0 win over the Astros.
"It was fun," Rodriguez said. "It was quite interesting, after 20 years in the league, to see the game from a totally different lens."
Rodriguez, 39, who has lost his third-base job to Chase Headley, caught Headley's throw after Jose Altuve's grounder leading off the bottom of the first.
He bobbled Evan Gattis' second-inning grounder to his right, recovered and threw to pitcher Nathan Eovaldi at first for the out, then caught 2B Stephen Drew's throw on Colby Rasmus' two-out grounder. Yankees manager Joe Girardi took out Rodriguez after 31/2 innings.
"Maybe next time I'll play five innings; I know Joe is trying to ease into it a little bit," Rodriguez said. "I think the most challenging parts are going to be bunts, first and second when I have to throw across the diamond. But I'm used to throwing the ball across the diamond, so that's an asset."
A-Rod has played 1,272 games at shortstop and 1,189 at third in his big-league career.
"You'd think he'd be pretty good around the bag, even scooping, because you get a lot of those hot shots around third base," said Girardi, who wants to look at Rodriguez at first base again before spring training ends.
SLUGGER HURTS KNEE: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira left a minor-league intrasquad game with a bruised right knee after being hit by a pitch. Teixeira was the DH in a game between Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Double-A Trenton when a ball struck his kneecap. After he returned to Steinbrenner Field from the minor-league complex, Teixeira said he was "fine." He said no tests were planned.
Jays: Veteran sharp
DUNEDIN— LHP Mark Buehrle was pleased with his work in a 4-2 loss to the Orioles.
Buehrle allowed a run in the third inning on back-to-back doubles by Everth Cabrera and Jimmy Paredes. That was the only damage against the 36-year-old, who scattered seven hits and didn't walk a batter while striking out four over five innings.
"The beginning wasn't as strong and sharp as I wanted to," Buehrle told mlb.com. "I just feel like I got stronger as the game went along. I don't know why, it's just one of those days. Third inning, I didn't miss too many bats, they were putting the ball in play pretty hard and guys diving all over and making some plays. Overall, it was good, I got up to the 90 pitch-count area. I would have liked it to be more like six or seven innings, but that's the way it goes."
WAIVER CLAIM: The team claimed 1B Andy Wilkins off waivers from the White Sox. He hit .293 with a .338 on-base percentage and a .558 slugging percentage in 491 at-bats with Triple-A Charlotte last season.
Want more than just the box score?
Subscribe to our free Rays Report newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Phillies: Utley power
CLEARWATER — 2B Chase Utley hit his first two home runs of spring training and drove in three runs for the Phillies in a 4-4 tie with the Tigers.
Utley, 36, missed the first 10 games this spring after spraining his right ankle in January. He hit a two-run homer in the first off RHP Anibal Sanchez and connected again on the first pitch of the fourth.
"I think he was (waiting) for the curveball," Sanchez said. "I threw him two curveballs and he hit them pretty good. He's a pretty good hitter. … He was ready for it."
Utley is hitting .441 (15-for-34) during the regular season against Sanchez with no home runs. He's batting .423 (11-for-26) in 10 games this spring training.
"Chase swung the bat very well," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said.