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News » Yankees-Blue Jays Preview 2009-05-13

Yankees-Blue Jays Preview 2009-05-13

Yankees-Blue Jays Preview 2009-05-13
Injuries to Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui don't seem severe enough to keep them out for long. Even a quick return for the New York Yankees stars, though, may not be enough to overcome the Toronto Blue Jays' hot pitching.

After getting a second straight pitching gem, the Blue Jays look to again shut down a Yankees team that could be without Jeter and Matsui on Wednesday night in the middle game of this series.

American League-leading Toronto (23-12) has won three straight, including two straight dominant pitching performances. Three Blue Jays hurlers combined to lead Toronto to a 5-0 win over Oakland on Sunday, and Roy Halladay pitched his first complete game of the season in a 5-1 victory over New York (15-17) on Tuesday night.

The Blue Jays have been a surprise contender in the tough AL East and have a 6 1/2-game lead on the disappointing Yankees, who have lost seven of nine and have two of their best hitters nursing injuries.

Jeter was scratched Tuesday due to a sore right oblique, but New York manager Joe Girardi said the All-Star shortstop could return to the lineup Wednesday. The injury occurred over the weekend at Baltimore, but Jeter played in all three games of that series.

"I've pulled that muscle before and (ended up on) the disabled list," Jeter said. "That's two or three weeks. We're trying to avoid that. Hopefully this extra day helped."

Jeter has been used in the leadoff spot, batting .273 with four home runs, 13 RBIs and seven stolen bases. If he can't play, Ramiro Pena will likely get his second straight start at shortstop.

Matsui was replaced by Nick Swisher in this series' opener after leaving the game in the fifth inning with a tight right hamstring. Matsui, batting .263 with three homers and 12 RBIs, is day to day.

The left-handed slugger had surgery on his left knee Sept. 22, and the Yankees don't expect him to play the outfield until June. He was limited to pinch-hitting duties for several games in April when his knee filled with fluid.

With Jorge Posada (hamstring) already on the 15-day disabled list and Mark Teixeira struggling in his first year with New York, the Yankees can't afford to lose Jeter or Matsui for a prolonged period of time.

Alex Rodriguez's RBI single in the seventh gave New York its only run Tuesday. It was his first RBI since hitting a three-run homer in his first at-bat after returning from hip surgery Friday.

Rodriguez has never faced Scott Richmond (4-1, 3.29 ERA), who will take the mound for the Blue Jays. He's coming off his first loss of the season, allowing five runs and seven hits in eight innings as Toronto was defeated 5-3 by Oakland on Friday night.

The right-hander gave up three runs or fewer in each of his previous six starts. This will be his first appearance against the Yankees.

New York will counter with Andy Pettitte (2-1, 4.38), who is 0-1 with a 6.62 ERA in his last three starts, allowing a career-high four home runs in his last outing. The veteran left-hander surrendered five runs and nine hits in six innings during New York's 8-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Pettitte is 17-11 with a 4.19 ERA in 35 starts and one relief appearance versus the Blue Jays.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 13, 2009

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