By Associated Press - Monday, March 7, 2011

SARASOTA, Fla. | Sergio Mitre is doing everything he can to answer one of New York’s questions about its rotation.

Mitre pitched three innings in his first spring start as the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles played to a scoreless tie on Monday night. The game was called after nine innings.

Mitre, competing for one of the Yankees’ two open rotation spots, allowed three hits and struck out three. The right-hander has tossed five scoreless innings in three appearances this spring, giving up five hits and striking out four.

“I’m trying to make their decision as hard as possible, as difficult as I can do it,” he said. “They’ve brought a couple of guys in to fill these roles. My job is to come out here and try and compete and try to win a spot. Hopefully, I do. If I don’t, we’ll see what happens.”

Mitre has started 12 games for the Yankees over the past two seasons.

“He pitched really well for us last year and pitched well in the competition last year,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. “He’ll get another start here.”

The Orioles came close to scoring in the second when Mark Reynolds led off with a double. Adam Jones singled and Yankees center fielder Greg Golson fired the ball to home plate in time to get Reynolds.

“It’s a cannon — that’s all,” an admiring Mitre said about Golson’s arm.

The throw by Golson could have been costly. Two innings later, Golson told Girardi he injured his right rib cage and was removed from the game.

For the second straight day, New York brought its starting infield to a road game. Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez were a combined 2 for 11.

Baltimore starting pitcher Zach Britton also threw three innings in his first start, allowing singles to Jeter and Rodriguez.

The 23-year-old Britton, who admitted to some nerves in his first game Wednesday against Philadelphia, felt better this time. He was helped when the national anthem singer twice stumbled through the first stanza and was forced to ask the fans to help him in a sing-along.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. I think the national anthem got a couple laughs out of me. So it broke the ice for everything,” Britton said.

“I have a lot of respect for what (the Yankees) have done on the field, but in between the lines I was like I don’t care who you are — I’m going to go after you today.”

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter ran the team after leading an Orioles split-squad to a 6-5 loss to the Red Sox in Fort Myers about 80 miles away on Monday afternoon.

“If you didn’t know Zach was his age and what have you, unless you are trying to put yourself in his shoes you wouldn’t have thought he was any different than anyone else pitching tonight,” Showalter said.

NOTES: Rodriguez had an extra-base hit in each of his first five spring games. … New York OF Colin Curtis had an MRI on the right shoulder he injured in Sunday’s game. “My sense is he’s going to be out for a while,” Girardi said. … Luke Scott became the fifth Oriole to start at first base. Derrek Lee (wrist) has yet to play this spring. … The crowd, which included Rodriguez’s girlfriend Cameron Diaz, was a stadium-record 8,471.


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