Phillies Notes: Bumbling Phils lose to Yankees, 6-2

Cliff Lee looks back after two runs score on double by the Yankees' Ben Francisco in the first. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Cliff Lee looks back after two runs score on double by the Yankees' Ben Francisco in the first. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Posted: March 15, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. - The Phillies played under the lights Wednesday for the first time this spring, yet another sign that meaningful baseball is near, and the results were not sharp. Before the third inning was over, the Phillies had committed four errors.

It made for a quicker night than Cliff Lee intended. He completed only 22/3 innings and needed 71 pitches for those eight outs. Just two of the five runs he allowed were earned.

In all, the Phillies made five errors in a 6-2 loss to the New York Yankees.

"I made pitches," Lee said. "They got their fair share of hits. We kind of played a little sloppy. I contributed to that as well."

Indeed, Lee discarded an easy out with a poor throw. Josh Fields, a nonroster player starting at third base, botched a routine grounder that led to two runs. Reserve catcher Humberto Quintero made two poor throws, one of which was charged as an error to Chase Utley. Later, Mike Stutes committed a throwing error.

Lee was most upset with his two walks. His off-speed pitches, specifically his change-up, were erratic.

"It's something I have to have," he said.

There was one bright spot: Darin Ruf smacked his first Grapefruit League homer in his 41st plate appearance of the spring. He hit an 0-2 pitch from Yankees righty David Aardsma.

Different starters

The Phillies want enough innings against major-league hitters for their relievers, so many of their regular starters will head to the minors this week. Kyle Kendrick, Cole Hamels, and Lee will each make their next starts in minor-league games.

That will provide another start Thursday for Aaron Cook. On Saturday, Raul Valdes will start, although the Phillies are looking at him as a reliever.

"We have to see relievers for multiple innings," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.

Cook, traditionally a starter, could make the team as a long man and insurance for the rotation. He must be added to the 40-man roster by March 24 or he can ask for his release.

Extra bases

Ben Francisco, once acquired by the Phillies with Lee, smacked a two-run double off his former teammate in the first inning. Francisco was released Monday by Cleveland and immediately signed by the Yankees, who are desperate for outfield help. He batted fifth Wednesday. . . . Derek Jeter, playing in his first game at shortstop since suffering a broken ankle last October, fielded his only chance in four innings and went 0 for 2 at the plate.

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