Yankees defeat Twins

Published 11:20 am Saturday, March 23, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Robinson Cano returned from the World Baseball Classic, his swing in fine form for the New York Yankees.

Ivan Nova would like to go back and do this game over.

Cano drove in two runs to help the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 9-7 on Friday despite a rough start for Nova, who’s in contention for the fifth slot in the rotation.

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Cano went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and an RBI double as the designated hitter, playing for the second straight day after winning MVP award honors for the Dominican Republic in the WBC.

Nova gave up back-to-back home runs to Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit in the second inning. He gave up seven hits, five runs — four earned — and one walk in 5 1-3 innings, striking out three.

“I’m not happy,” said Nova, who is in a fight with David Phelps to be the fifth starter. “I don’t like the way I threw the ball today. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in a competition or not. I always want to do my best. I’m not worried about any competition. My competition is with myself.”

Nova’s spring ERA rose to 4.19.

“He made some mistakes with his fastball,” manager Joe Girardi said. “His curveball was not quite as sharp as it has been in the past.”

Vance Worley, who could be the opening day starter for the Twins, gave up eight hits and five runs — four earned — in five innings. His spring ERA is 6.35.

“He was up an awful lot. Not many breakers early. Slow paced, that type of stuff. It didn’t seem like he had much of a feel for it. The ball came out a little bit better there at the end,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, adding: “We’ve got to start moving forward now. The pace has to be better.”

Brennan Boesch, trying to win a spot as a backup outfielder, was a late scratch from the Yankees lineup because of sore left ribs. He’ll probably be held out for the next three days as a precaution, and the manager wasn’t happy that Boesch waited to mention his discomfort until after the two-plus-hour bus trip.

“We want to get him back as soon as possible, but we don’t want to hurt him,” Girardi said.

Boesch was released by Detroit last week and signed with the Yankees two days later.

“The manager wanted to be extra cautious,” Boesch said. “I just felt some soreness. I was taking a lot of swings the past couple of weeks. I made the trip, two hours to play. But we played it smart I guess. I probably should have spoke up before I got on the bus, but I wanted to play.”

NOTES: The Twins announced a record spring training crowd of 8,366 at Hammond Stadium. … Girardi said SS Derek Jeter might play in a minor league game Saturday as the DH, depending on how his ankle feels. … The Twins optioned OF Joe Benson to Triple-A Rochester. He had been competing for the CF job with Aaron Hicks and Darin Mastroianni, but Gardenhire said he was impressed by the way Benson bounced back from a knee and hand injury that ruined his 2012 season. “I thought he had a good spring here. He’s going to continue to work on his swing and kind of round out his whole game,” the manager said. “Last year was a rough year for him. He has a lot of tools. He’s a talented young man. We’re excited for him. Hopefully he’ll continue that progress down there and can get back up here. He can cover a lot of ground. He just needs a little more balance with his swing. He’s done it before. He can do it again.” … The Twins also placed LH Scott Diamond (elbow) and RH Anthony Swarzak (ribs) on the 15-day DL. Diamond will miss the first few games of the regular season but could be back soon after.