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While a bunch of aging stars try to get healthy, the New York Yankees have a chance to check out their younger players at spring training.
Zoilo Almonte homered and threw out a runner from right field, Francisco Cervelli began his pitch to win the catching job, and David Phelps threw two scoreless innings as New York defeated the bumbling Atlanta Braves 8-3 in its spring training opener Saturday.
Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira were about the only big names making the trip for the Yankees, with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mariano Riviera among those still in various stages of rehab.
"I'm never going to say that injuries are a good thing," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "But this will give the kids a chance to grow up a little bit."
Cano also homered for the Yankees, who took advantage of three Atlanta errors and a passed ball. Freddie Freeman bobbled a ground ball at first, new third baseman Chris Johnson missed a popup near home plate, and second baseman Dan Uggla skipped a throw on a routine grounder.
New York broke a scoreless tie in the third with four runs off another Braves newcomer, Jordan Walden, though only one was earned because of two errors. Still, it wasn't as if Walden fooled anyone, surrendering a homer to Almonte on a 1-2 pitch and a double to Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees' fourth run trotted home on a wild pitch by the big right-hander.
- Associated Press