Atlanta pitcher David Hale's spring struggles continue

ASSOCIATED PRESSMarch 19, 2014 

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Atlanta pitcher David Hale went 4 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and walking three, in a 7-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday.

With injuries to several starters, Hale is in the mix for one of the final two spots in the rotation. He has a spring ERA of 5.11.

Hale knows he's under close scrutiny as the Braves try to scrape together a starting rotation. He was excited about facing much of the Yankees regular starting lineup.

"I grew up watching Derek Jeter," Hale said. "That was fun."

What wasn't fun were the walks. Hale had only walked two batters all spring but he was concerned after walking three against the Yankees.

"I know I have to cut down on the walks," Hale said. "I figured out what I was doing wrong and I need to make some corrections. Right now, I am absolutely where I want to be."

With a shot at one of the open spots in the rotation, Hale said he is trying to stay focused.

"You never want to see anyone get hurt, but it has given me an opportunity," Hale said.

Meanwhile, New York pitcher Ivan Nova pitched two-hit ball while working into the seventh inning for the first time this spring.

Nova didn't walk a batter and didn't allow a runner past second base. He said he felt like he could have kept going until he was pulled after allowing a double to Ryan Doumit.

"I expected to pitch six, but not into the seventh," Nova said. "I left feeling strong. This was a good day. I felt really comfortable."

Nova struck out five in 6 1-3 innings and lowered his ERA to 3.66 in his fifth start.

Carlos Beltran had three hits and drove in two runs and Adonis Garcia raised his spring batting average to .423 with two RBIs.

Trainer's room

Yankees: Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the lineup for a second straight day nursing a sore right calf. Girardi said he is still day to day.

Braves: Kris Medlen had Tommy John surgery on Wednesday to repair his ulnar collateral ligament in his right pitching elbow. He is out for the season. … First baseman Freddie Freeman returned to the lineup and went 0 for 3. He has been struggling with a bruised thumb.

McCann returns

Yankees catcher Brian McCann returned to the Braves' complex at Walt Disney World for the first time since signing a five-year, $85 million deal during the offseason. McCann spent nine years with the Braves, making seven All-Star appearances. He has fond memories of his time in Atlanta.

"I didn't come here for any reason, but it was good to see the guys," McCann said. "I came to catch Nova. I am very grateful to the Braves. They made me the player I am today and I loved my time here."

Girardi said McCann is making a difference on and off the field.

"He goes out of his way to help the pitching staff," Girardi said. "He spends time with them off the field. You can learn a lot about a guy that way. He's becoming a leader to that staff."

To the rescue

The Braves signed Erwin Santana to a one-year, $14.1 million deal last week to fill the void in the starting rotation. After pitching several bullpens, Santana will make his first start in a Braves uniform on Thursday in Port St. Lucie against the New York Mets. Santana went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA for the Kansas City Royals last season.

Yankees 7, Braves 0

New York Atlanta

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Gardner cf 1 1 0 0 Heyward rf 3 0 0 0

Z.Almonte rf 1 0 0 0 Cunningham rf 1 0 0 0

Jeter ss 4 0 0 0 B.Upton cf 3 0 0 0

Y.Solarte pr-ss 0 2 0 0 L.Vasquez p 0 0 0 0

Beltran dh 4 0 3 2 La Stella 2b 1 0 0 0

Au.Romine ph-dh 0 1 0 0 F.Freeman 1b 3 0 0 0

McCann c 4 0 0 0 E.Mejia 1b 1 0 0 0

J.Murphy c 1 0 0 0 J.Upton lf 3 0 1 0

A.Soriano rf 4 0 1 0 Constanza pr-lf 0 0 0 0

C.Stevenson 1b 0 0 0 0 C.Johnson 3b 3 0 0 0

B.Roberts 2b 2 1 1 0 Gosselin 3b 1 0 1 0

D.Anna 2b 1 0 0 1 Uggla 2b 3 0 0 0

K.Johnson 3b 2 1 0 0 Kimbrel p 0 0 0 0

Nunez 3b 2 0 0 0 E.Reyes ss 1 0 0 0

A.Garcia lf 3 0 1 2 Simmons ss 3 0 1 0

Z.Wheeler lf 1 0 1 1 J.Jaime p 0 0 0 0

J.Gil 1b 2 0 0 0 R.Harper p 0 0 0 0

Richardson pr-cf 2 1 0 0 Lerud c 2 0 0 0

J.Schafer cf 1 0 1 0

Hale p 0 0 0 0

Avilan p 0 0 0 0

Doumit ph 1 0 1 0

Bethancourt c 1 0 0 0

Totals 34 7 7 6 Totals 31 0 5 0

New York 100 200 202--7

Atlanta 000 000 000--0

E--Simmons (3), La Stella (3). DP--New York 1. LOB--New York 11, Atlanta 6. 2B--A.Garcia (2), J.Upton (2), J.Schafer (4), Doumit (2). SB--Gardner (1), Richardson (1). S--Hale.

IP H R ER BB SO

New York

Nova W,2-1 61/3 2 0 0 0 5

D.Burawa 2/3 1 0 0 0 0

S.Greene 2/3 1 0 0 0 0

Cabral 2/3 0 0 0 0 0

Betances 2/3 1 0 0 1 0

Atlanta

Hale L,0-2 41/3 5 3 3 3 2

Avilan 12/3 0 0 0 1 1

L.Vasquez 1 1 2 1 2 1

Kimbrel 1 1 0 0 0 1

J.Jaime 1/3 0 2 2 4 1

R.Harper 2/3 0 0 0 1 2

PB--McCann.

Umpires--Home, Angel Campos; First, Joe West; Second, Larry Vanover; Third, Ed Hickox.

T--2:56. A--10,413 (9,500).

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