CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Pete Mackanin got right to the point after this one.
"Well, I wish Joe Girardi didn't bring Bird along," he said after the Phillies' 7-3 loss to the Yankees. "It would have been a different ballgame if he didn't show up."
Mackanin was referring to Greg Bird, the Yankees first baseman, and owner of a sweet lefty swing that has produced six home runs this spring, including a pair on Wednesday.
Both of the home runs came on down-and-in fastballs from Vince Velasquez. On one of them, Velasquez missed his spot badly.
"Velasquez pitched better than what he gave up," Mackanin said. "He had a good fastball. He got his pitch count up and he got through six innings. We're happy about that."
Velasquez lines up to pitch the home opener on April 7.
Nava auditions at first
Daniel Nava, fighting to make the club as a non-roster player, played the entire game at first base. He had a walk, drove in a run and made a nifty play with the glove at first.
The Phillies have a serious roster crunch. If Andrew Knapp makes the club as the backup catcher -- a strong possibility because he is already on the 40-man roster -- then Nava could be battling with Chris Coghlan and Brock Stassi for one of the final two spots on the bench. Nava and Stassi are similar in that they both play first base and outfield, so it could come down to one or the other. Both have swung the bat well this spring (see 25-man roster projection).
"I could go out there and do everything right and they could go in a different direction, and I could do everything wrong and they could want me," Nava said. "I've been in this spot numerous times so I'm just trying to control things that I can control. That's a classic cliché or phrase, but there's a reason it's a phrase because there's a lot of truth to it. I just don't look into that stuff because it's out of my control.
"They could go a lot of different ways and that's actually good because it's so far out of your control you can't worry about it.
"We have a bunch of guys here who are good players. We'll see what happens."
The Phillies host the Twins on Thursday (1:05 p.m./TCN). Aaron Nola will start.