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Pirates fall to Yankees, get Hinske back Wednesday

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Yankees used a six-run third inning and a dominant performance by starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia to hand the Pirates a 9-2 loss Tuesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Sabathia pitched four innings allowing one run, one hit and striking out seven batters. Yankees designated hitter Hideki Matsui provided the offensive highlights as he went 2-for-2 with a home run and four RBI.

• Eric Hinske is expected to start in right field Wednesday when the Pirates host the Minnesota Twins at McKechnie Field. Pirates manager John Russell said Monday night that he planned to use Hinske — who hasn’t played since Feb. 26 because of bruised ribs — as the designated hitter, but Hinske feels good enough to play the field.

• Outfielder Brandon Moss could play with the Pirates as soon as Friday. Until then, he’ll continue to workout at Pirate City while recovering from a bruised thumb. He’s been out since March 7.

• Starting pitcher Virgil Vasquez had a rough night in his third appearance this spring, but Vasquez didn’t seem too down on his performance. Either did Russell.

“There were a lot of positives,” Russell said. “There were a lot of first-pitch strikes. He used his fastball.

“I thought the command and the way he attacked the zone (was good). I thought he could have utilized his off-speed (pitches) a little more to keep them off balance. Obviously it’s a pretty good hitting club.”

Vasquez opened the game by issuing a walk to Jorge Posada and then giving up a double to Johnny Damon. Matsui later knocked both of them in with a double.

Pirates pitcher Evan Meek replaced Vasquez in the third but had a hard time getting out of the inning. In .2 innings, he gave up two hits and two runs and walked three batters.

Tyler Yates was a bright spot among the Pirates’ pitching staff going two innings and allowing just one run.

“We were very happy with him last year,” Russell said. “He was very consistent for us. He’s able to keep us in a game or keep us with the lead. He’s able to pitch more than one inning so he’s very valuable.”

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