Chamberlain roughed up in relief of Hughes as rotation battle unfolds

TAMPA, Fla. -- Joba Chamberlain and the New York Yankees were not concerned about his first outing of the year.

Chamberlain allowed five runs, three hits and three walks over 1 1/3 innings Friday in New York's 12-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Slowed by flulike symptoms this week that cost him eight pounds, Chamberlain threw just 14 of 33 pitches for strikes in relief of Phil Hughes, competing with him to be the fifth starter

"I'm not going to make too much out of it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He had to fight through it. Physically, I don't think he was 100 percent."

Chamberlain replaced Hughes to the start the third and gave up three runs, two hits and two walks during the inning. He left with runners on second and third, and one out in the fourth.

"I'm just trying to get back into the flow of things," Chamberlain said. "You're not going to win the battle in one game. It's what you do before the game, how you prepare yourself, how you're getting better. I know there's guys out there battling, so you've got to come in tomorrow and get after it."

Hughes allowed one run and one hit in two innings, Sean Rodriguez's solo homer in the first.

"I'm just worried about what I'm doing," Hughes said. "I feel like if I just get myself ready, that's all I can ask for. If it's not good enough, it's not good enough."

Rodriguez went 3 for 3 with two RBIs, falling a single shy of the cycle. He has five hits, including three homers, in six overall at-bats.

Jason Bartlett and Reid Brignac each drove in three runs for the Rays.

Tampa Bay left-hander David Price allowed two hits over 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two and walked one.

"With all of our young pitchers, one of the process driven goals is to be able to pitch 200 innings," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "If he and the other guys can get 200 innings under their belts, so you get a thousand innings out of our starting pitching, that would be kind of impressive. David is among the five and we're looking for that."

Price struck out Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada.

Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria went 0 for 2, but did drive in a run on a third-inning grounder.

Yankees spring training instructor and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra talked with Longoria before the game and said the All-Star third baseman's conduct on and off the field reminds a bit of Joe DiMaggio's.

"A good kid," Berra said. "I like him."

Game notes
Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer made the trip and spent time with Berra and Girardi. ... Yankees closer Mariano Rivera had his third bullpen session and will know Saturday whether he have another mound session or throw batting practice for the first time on Sunday. ... Maddon said closer Rafael Soriano and LHP J.P. Howell will make the first of their six or seven appearances in mid-March. ... New York 1B Nick Johnson (stiff back) could return on Monday. ... Alex 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.