The Minnesota Twins are in no hurry to push Joe Crede and his creaky back too hard.
Crede, batting third as the designated hitter, went 0-for-2 with a walk in his Twins debut, a 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday. Crede said he was just happy to get to the plate and face pitchers.
"There's 30-some spring games, so no need to rush anything," Crede said. "As long as you're ready to go on opening day, you're going to be in good shape."
Crede, who had two back operations in the past two years, was the Twins' biggest offseason acquisition, coming over from the White Sox for a one-year, $2.5 million deal laden with incentives if he stays healthy. He finally made it on the field in the team's third spring game.
"It's all about him just getting at-bats," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I want to help him get through all of these little aches and pains. I'll DH him the next time out, and eventually we'll get him out on the field. This is about getting him ready."
Danny Valencia singled home Trevor Plouffe for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, a hit that made the minor league third baseman 6-for-6 this spring. Dustin Martin added a sacrifice fly for what turned out to be a needed insurance run.
The Yankees left most of their regulars in Tampa. Justin Leone homered off Scott Baker, the Twins' planned opening day starter. Baker gave up three runs and six hits in two innings.
"I made some good pitches, and I made some bad pitches," Baker said. "You're just getting used to your routine and feeling things out again."
Brett Gardner, competing with Melky Cabrera for the Yankees' center field job, had two hits and a walk and stole two bases. Cabrera, playing left, was 0-for-3.
Yankees starter Ian Kennedy worked two scoreless innings, striking out three and walking one. He gave up one hit. Kennedy, who went 0-4 with an 8.17 ERA last season, is likely to lose his spot in the rotation after the offseason acquisitions of C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.