Yankees beat the Rays, 5-1

February 26, 2009 2:52:08 PM PST
For Alex Rodriguez, more cheers mixed with boos. The New York Yankees star got another split reception Thursday in his first spring training game at home since admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03. Rodriguez tested positive for steroids while playing for the Texas Rangers.

Rodriguez went 0-for-2 and left after five innings of the Yankees' 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. The sellout crowd of 10,693 at George M. Steinbrenner Field included the Yankees owner.

The 12-time All-Star homered Wednesday in the Yankees' exhibition opener against Toronto. He heard some catcalls at the Blue Jays' ballpark, but also drew a standing ovation after his home run.

This time, he struck out in the second inning and grounded into an inning-ending double play in his other at-bat.

"I thought it was fine. ... I'm just happy to be out there playing," Rodriguez said. "It feels good to be between the lines."

There was mixed reaction from the crowd before each at-bat. Tampa Bay fans cheered when minor league prospect Wade Davis fanned him, then erupted again when the AL champions turned the double play to end the fourth inning.

Other than there being a generous number of Rays supporters, manager Joe Girardi said he didn't detect a huge difference.

"It's probably a bigger crowd today than yesterday, so either way it's going to be a little bit louder," Girardi said. "I thought there were a few more boos the first time he came up."

Rodriguez said he had not yet met with investigators from Major League Baseball, which wants to interview him about a trainer from the Domincan Republic and the cousin the third baseman said injected him with a banned substance called "boli."

Rodriguez left Wednesday's exhibition game in Dunedin in a SUV driven by Yuri Sucart, who has been identified as the cousin.

The Yankees want the cousin to stay away from ballparks.

"It's been addressed," Rodriguez added. "And, no further comment."

Earlier, general manager Brian Cashman said: "It's been handled."

Jorge Posada hit a solo homer off Chad Orvella in his first at-bat since having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder July 30, then delivered an RBI double off Winston Abreu for the Yankees.

New York's Shelley Duncan had a three-run homer off Calvin Medlock, while the Rays avoided a shutout with Jon Weber's RBI single off J.B. Cox.

Posada was in the lineup as the Yankees' designated hitter. March 15 is the target date for the All-Star catcher to go behind the plate.

Rodriguez is not on the travel roster for Friday's exhibition against Minnesota in Fort Myers. He's expected to play Saturday and Sunday before joining the Dominican Republic for the World Baseball Classic.

"It's going to be exciting," Rodriguez said. "I have only four or five games here. I'm trying to draw as much from them as I can. I've enjoyed the first two."

Notes: Steinbrenner was driven in a golf cart from the parking lot to near the stadium elevators, where we was transferred to a wheelchair to go up to his office. His daughters, Jennifer and Jessica, asked photographers not to take any photos. When the Boss appeared in his suite to watch the game, he received a strong ovation from fans. ... OF Johnny Damon, one of the players who has had his account frozen in the government's investigation of companies owned by R. Allen Stanford, still hasn't been told when he might get access to his money. "I have no clue," Damon said. "The money is still there, I don't know when (it will be unfrozen.)" ... Expected opening day starter CC Sabathia threw a 12-minute bullpen session and said he will take part in a simulated game on Sunday. He will make his spring training debut on March 6.