Hurdle glad to get Grapefruit slate underway

Hurdle glad to get Grapefruit slate underway

BRADENTON, Fla. -- It was only one exhibition game, the first one at that.

Yet Wednesday's Grapefruit League opener between the Yankees and the Pirates offered a fascinating look into the different ways the two teams from different markets operate.

The Yankees' starting lineup included six players new to their organization -- including three free agents (Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann) signed for a total of $283 million. None of the nine appeared in a single game last season with the Yankees.

In contrast, the Pirates' starting nine was composed entirely of incumbents.

Perhaps, deep down, that added to the satisfaction that manager Clint Hurdle felt about the 6-5 comeback victory in front of a record house at McKechnie Field.

"It was good to get the games going. I thought we competed well. It was fun to watch," said Hurdle, calling the onset of exhibitions "just the next phase [of Spring Training]."

"The games don't count," he added, "but they matter. Everyone gets to hit the rest button at the end of it, but everything we do matters. Our focus needs to be in a good spot."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.