Nathan Eovaldi continues impressive spring

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Working before a crowd that included the only other major leaguer to ever come out of Alvin, Texas -- a fellow named Nolan Ryan -- New York Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi continued to show a live fastball and a developing splitter. He held the Houston Astros to one hit (Jed Lowrie's second-inning double) in the first 3-1/3 innings. He allowed two singles in the fourth and both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but Eovaldi then quelled the threat with two fly outs. He got the first two hitters of the fifth inning and he was done, the only negative being that he needed 89 pitches to get there. Through three starts, his spring ERA is 0.66, he has struck out 14 in 13-2/3 innings and most impressively, has yet to walk a batter.

"All of my pitches are working really well right now. I’ve just got to work on rushing to the plate," said Eovaldi, who was not as thrilled about his high pitch count.

"I worked a lot of 3-2 counts. It was just tough for me to put them away," he said. "I felt like they were fouling off every pitch. I felt like I’d get ahead 1-2, 0-2 and then they’d work the count 3-2. It’s important to me to be able to put them away with one or two pitches."

"It's not what you want," Girardi said of Eovladi's pitch count. "But you're not always going to be perfect."

Hit parade: Among the Yankees 11 hits were three by Chase Headley, including a home run and a two-run single. Rob Refsnyder chipped in with a pair of doubles. Slade Heathcott also had an RBI single, raising his spring average to .321.

Also-rans on display: The two remaining runners-up for the No. 5 starter's job were in action today. Esmil Rogers threw 1-2/3 perfect innings with two strikeouts and Chase Whitley struck out the only batter he faced when he relieved Eovaldi in the fifth. Chasen Shreve, who has had an erratic spring, threw a hitless and scoreless 1-1/3 innings with walk. Jose Ramirez threw a scoreless ninth despite allowing two hits.

Clean out your lockers: In addition to the three player moves they made earlier in the day, the Yankees announced after the game that OF Ramon Flores had been optioned to AAA Scranton, and C Francisco Arcia, INF Cole Figueroa, INF Jonathan Galvez, OF Slade Heathcott, C Kyle Higashioka, LHP Jacob Lindgren and RHP Nick Rumbelow were re-assigned to minor-league camp.

Vacation day: The Yankees have Monday off -- or as Girardi put it, "off-off,'' meaning no baseball activity at all. They resume Tuesday with Opening Day starter Masahiro Tanaka making his final spring start against the Minnesota Twins in Ft. Myers, Florida. Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been on the shelf since March 15 with an oblique strain, is scheduled to return to action in a minor-league game at the Yankees developmental complex in Tampa.