TAMPA, Fla. -- Manager Joe Girardi started his potential regular lineup, closer Mariano Rivera worked out of a bases-load jam in his first appearance and the New York Yankees beat a Houston Astros split squad 4-1 on Tuesday night.
Nick Johnson hit second, Robinson Cano fifth and Curtis Granderson was in the seventh spot of the Yankees' batting order. Johnson and Granderson started spring training as the candidates to bat behind leadoff hitter Derek Jeter.
"Obviously, the on-base percentage is outstanding," Girardi said Johnson. "He knows how to hit. He takes his walks. Has deep counts."
Rivera needed 27 pitches to pitch a scoreless fifth, giving up one hit, one walk and striking out one. The 40-year old, who has taken a slower approach at spring training the past few years, got an inning-ending grounder from Jason Michaels to end the Astros scoring threat.
"Actually it's good because you're out there throwing your pitches, working," Rivera said. "You need to throw to build (arm) strength. I'm happy with how I'm feeling."
Phil Hughes, bidding for New York's fifth starter spot, allowed three hits in four shutout innings out of the bullpen.
Joba Chamberlain is facing an important test in his attempt to win the Yankees' last rotation spot in Wednesday's game with Philadelphia. The right-hander has 27.00 ERA over his first two outings.
"You've got to pitch," Girardi said. "Pick it up. You want to see him execute pitches. Do the things you have to do to be successful."
Girardi expects to have the fifth starter selected by March 25-26.
"It's nice to put them all together for the first time," Girardi said. "We haven't done it all spring."
Burnett struggled with his control against the Astros, throwing just 33 of 66 pitches for strikes over 2 1/3 innings. He allowed one run, two hits, four walks and had two strikeouts.
Singer Paul Simon threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Rivera expects to pitch again on Friday. ... Rodriguez had nothing new to report regarding his pending interview with federal investigators who are conducting a probe into a Canadian doctor accused of selling an unapproved drug. ... Astros RHP Brandon Lyon, who had a small cyst in his right shoulder drained in January, has started a normal pitching program. He could see his first game action this week. ... New York RHP Chan Ho Park threw a simulated game and is scheduled to pitch on Thursday.