TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees were tempted enough by Nathan Eovaldi's future projection to pull the trigger on a big offseason swap, and they got a first glimpse of the right-hander in pinstripes during Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"It's definitely special," Eovaldi said. "It's the same game. You're just in a different uniform. That's the mentality I was trying to take out there to compete."
Acquired from the Marlins in a December five-player deal, Eovaldi allowed a run on two hits over two innings. The Yankees are projecting the hard-throwing right-hander to serve as a workhorse in their rotation, and he is building a rapport with catcher Brian McCann.
"Everything has been good," Eovaldi said. "I got to throw one bullpen [session] with him previously. He's awesome back there. Today, I told him I just wanted to work on moving the ball in and out and work on the split. He said, 'Let's go.'"
Alex Rodriguez returned to the batter's box after a 17-month absence and went 1-for-2 with a walk. He singled in his first at-bat, swinging and missing twice before cleanly lining an 89-mph fastball from Kevin Slowey into shallow left field.
"I was a little nervous," Rodriguez said. "It's been a long time since I put on the pinstripes. It's definitely fun to have them back on."
A-Rod grounded out in his second plate appearance against Paul Clemens and worked a full-count walk facing Ethan Martin in the sixth before being replaced by pinch-runner Kyle Higashioka.
"For this time of spring, they're pretty good at-bats," manager Joe Girardi said. "A two-strike base hit, he hit a ground ball hard and worked a walk in a situation where they didn't give him much to hit. He put us in a situation to score a bunch of runs, even though we didn't."
Slowey, who is trying to earn a spot on the Phillies' Opening Day roster, tossed two scoreless frames. Making the start because Aaron Harang was scratched due to a back issue, Slowey allowed one hit while walking none and striking out two.
Philadelphia got on the board in the second inning as Darin Ruf doubled and scored on Cord Phelps' two-out single. They added a run in the fifth on Maikel Franco's RBI single facing Kyle Davies, a play that ended with Domonic Brown tagged out at the plate.
The Yankees loaded the bases in the sixth, but they only came away with one run when Gary Sanchez lofted a sacrifice fly to right field. Aaron Altherr knocked home Philadelphia's third run in the seventh inning with an RBI single off James Pazos.
Yankees shortstop Cito Culver, a first-round selection in 2010, contributed the defensive play of the afternoon in the eighth. Culver ranged into the outfield grass to track down a Ruf grounder, then whipped a strong throw to first base that took away a hit.