CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Alex Rodriguez is having fun, the same kind of fun he had two seasons ago.
Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning and CC Sabathia was sharp, leading the New York Yankees to an 8-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
“We have a great group of guys. I get the feeling in here like we did in ’09,” Rodriguez said. “Guys are having fun, are in good shape. CC threw the ball really well today. There are a lot of good things going on.
“I think we’re ready to go,” he added.
With the spring schedule winding down, the Yankees brought all of their regulars to Bright House Field and pounded the short-handed Phillies. Rodriguez had a double to go along with his fifth homer of the spring, and outfielders Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson had two hits apiece.
Sabathia held the Phillies to one run, Jimmy Rollins’ first homer, in 6 2-3 innings.
Rodriguez’s double off Philadelphia starter Joe Blanton to lead off the second inning extended his spring surge. Rodriguez has hit safely in all 13 games he’s played in.
In his next at-bat, Rodriguez followed Teixeira’s first home run of the spring with his fifth. Rodriguez has hit four home runs in his last five games and has seven RBIs in his last seven games.
The three-time MVP is hitting .432 (16 for 37) this spring.
“(I feel) a little more energized and my body feels healthy; this, definitely, is a pretty nice spring,” said Rodriguez, who had right hip surgery in March 2009. “It’s the best I’ve felt in a few years. Hopefully it carries over to April.”
Rollins went 3 for 3. He homered off Sabathia in the sixth inning.
“He was locked in,” Sabathia said of the fellow Bay Area-native Rollins.
The Phillies have played the last four games without All-Star third baseman Placido Polanco (left elbow) and have been without All-Star second baseman Chase Utley all spring. Polanco is expected to return early this week.
Manager Charlie Manuel complained about his team’s lack of offense afterward, also pointing out that the Phillies haven’t found a definite replacement for departed fifth-hole hitter and All-Star Jayson Werth.
“We’ve got to have somebody that can help us hold our own there,” Manuel said. “I would say those are two important spots in the lineup. Those are run-producing spots in our lineup.”
NOTES: Polanco hasn’t swung a bat since hyper-extending his left elbow on Tuesday. He plans to hit off a tee Monday with a tentative plan to return to a game a day or two later Phillies closer Brad Lidge threw his second side session in three days. Lidge, who has been sidelined since Monday with right biceps tendinitis, said he’ll get back into a game Tuesday when the Phillies play the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin. Phillies RHP Roy Halladay will make his second-to-last spring start on Monday against the Red Sox. Left-hander Jon Lester is scheduled to start for Boston. … Teixeira said that Phillies LF Ben Francisco’s effort to knock the ball out his glove on a fourth-inning grounder down the first-base line was an unnecessary play. Yankees RHP Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Soriano hasn’t allowed a run in four spring appearances.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)