- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Pitching has been a problem for the Boston Red Sox this season. The trouble now is finding someone to catch.

Ryan Hanigan will be out for “a substantial amount of time” and likely will need surgery after breaking his right pinkie in the seventh inning of Boston’s 3-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

That injury on a pitch that deflected off Mark Teixeira’s right wrist was overshadowed by Alex Rodriguez’s 660th homer, which tied Willie Mays for fourth place on the career list and broke a 2-all tie in the eighth.

In spring training, Boston lost starting catcher Christian Vazquez to Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox acquired Sandy Leon from Washington to back up Hanigan.

They could promote prized prospect Blake Swihart from Triple-A Pawtucket. Or they could re-sign Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was designated for assignment this week by Miami and was the Red Sox starting catcher for three years through 2013 when they won the World Series.

But they’ll miss Hanigan, who was signed in the offseason as a free agent from San Diego and has guided the pitching staff even though three starters have ERAs of 5.34 or higher.

But, Farrell said, “things were starting to gain some traction. He’s put up a lot of competitive at-bats.”

The most dramatic at-bat came from Rodriguez. Amid boos from opposing fans, A-Rod ran the count to 3-0 and then pounced on a 95 mph fastball over the middle of the plate from Junichi Tazawa (0-1). A second or two later, it was in the left-field seats above the Green Monster for a pinch-hit solo homer.

“I’m actually very excited,” said Rodriguez, who served a yearlong drug suspension last season. “It’s good to do it in a good team win.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi left Rodriguez out of the starting lineup to rest, but sent him up to bat for Garrett Jones with one out in the eighth. Girardi was among the first in the dugout greeting party to give Rodriguez a high-five.

“It’s a big hit for us in that situation,” the manager said. “Allows us to use our bullpen the way we want to use it, gives us the lead, he gets by the 660 and we move on.”

It was Rodriguez’s first career homer as a pinch hitter - he was 1 for 16 in those situations - and it came at Fenway Park, where he made his major league debut with Seattle in 1994.

“I really like this place,” Rodriguez said.

Mays saluted Rodriguez in a statement released by the San Francisco Giants.

“Congratulations to Alex Rodriguez on his 660th home run. Milestones in baseball are meant to be broken and I wish him continued success throughout his career,” the Hall of Famer said.

The Yankees’ reaction was a bit subdued. Players stayed in the dugout, applauding. But when A-Rod arrived, teammates slapped his hands and enthusiastically patted him on the back.

“I think everyone realized what he was up there for,” Farrell said.

Rodriguez’s sixth homer this season came after he went 5 for 37 in his previous 10 games. His 659th homer came on Sunday.

“Joe had a conversation with me early this spring and he wanted us to take 3-0 swinging a little bit more serious, be a little bit more assertive,” Rodriguez said. “I literally heard his voice right before that pitch.”

Esmil Rogers (1-1) got the win with a scoreless seventh. Andrew Miller earned his ninth save.

The Yankees scored in the first on an RBI double by Carlos Beltran. Boston tied it in the third when Xander Bogaerts doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mookie Betts.

Allen Craig’s first homer of the season put the Red Sox ahead 2-1 in the fourth. New York pulled even in the seventh on an RBI single by Brian McCann.

BEST OF THE BUNCH

Justin Masterson’s 4.71 ERA is the best among Boston’s starters. He allowed two runs and six hits in six innings.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: LHP Chris Capuano and RHP Ivan Nova are expected to throw Saturday. Both are on the disabled list - Capuano with a strained right quadriceps and Nova while recovering from right elbow surgery.

UP NEXT

Yankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 4.15 ERA) pitches the middle game of the series Saturday.

Red Sox: LHP Wade Miley (1-2, 8.62) tries to bounce back from his second start this season in which he failed to get out of the third inning. He gave up seven runs in 2 1-3 innings Sunday in an 18-7 loss at Baltimore.

___

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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