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Saturday, February 23, 2013
The Mark of Zoilo

By Wallace Matthews

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Robinson Cano hit his first home run of the spring, Francisco Cervelli notched the Yankees first caught stealing of the spring, David Phelps made the first start, Zoilo Almonte made the first outfield assist -- and hit an opposite field, two-run HR besides -- as the Yankees posted their first victory of the preseason, 8-3, over a ragged Atlanta Braves team at Disney World.

Joe Girardi said he was pleased with Phelps, who allowed three hits in two innings, and with Cervelli, who he said made "a beautiful throw'' to nail Todd Cunningham to end the second inning, but was especially impressed with Almonte, a 23-year-old switch-hitting outfielder who, hitting left-handed, took a Jordan Walden fastball the other way for a two-run homer.

"We’re excited about this kid,'' Girardi said. "We think he has a really good swing. He put up some decent numbers last year and moved up a little bit. To see him start out today, drive the ball the opposite way for a home run. He hit that ball hard.''