Rasner struggles in start against Houston

After a rough outing on Wednesday, Darrell Rasner may have to rely on his performance in 2006 if he's going to make the New York Yankees 25-man roster to begin the regular season.

Rasner, a 1999 Carson High graduate started in Wednesday's spring training game against the Houston Astros. Rasner likely would have locked up the No. 5 spot in the Yankees' starting rotation with a solid performance.

But Rasner took the loss in a 12-2 defeat, allowing seven runs on nine hits through 4.2 innings. Rasner had been enjoying a solid spring, allowing just two earned runs through 12 innings until Wednesday.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said Rasner's effort in 2006 with the Yankees will weigh into the team's decision on if he makes the opening day roster.

"Last year, to his credit, he pitched well for us in games that were very important," Torre told MLB.com. "You can't discount that. But tonight wasn't very good."

"The frustrating thing about it was that I was getting beat on secondary pitches, and that should not be happening now," Rasner told MLB.com.

Rasner's struggles also made it a certainty that Carl Pavano will start on opening day for the Yankees on Monday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Yankee Stadium. While the Yankees still haven't officially named Pavano as their opening day starter, the only other viable choice would have been Rasner before his struggles on Wednesday. One of the pitchers who Rasner is competing with for one of the Yankees' 12 spots on their pitching staff, Jeff Karstens, is still in the picture. Karstens, who had been suffering from stiffness in his right elbow, is scheduled to throw from halfway up the mound today. If all goes well, Torre said Karstens could be with the team on opening day.


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