Yankees, Rays open three-game series tonight

Good morning from sunny St. Petersburg, where the Yankees and Rays will open a three-game series tonight under the roof at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees are coming off a series loss in Baltimore where they played two extra-inning games, winning the first game of the series before dropping the last two. The Rays, who have found their bullpen to be a confusing weakness thus far in the season, meet the Yanks after losing two of three to the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Here are the pitching probables for the series at Tampa Bay:

Fri., 5/24 at Tampa Bay
RHP David Phelps (2-2, 3.83) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (2-4, 5.24)
7:10 p.m. MY9 / MLB Net.

Sat., 5/25 at Tampa Bay
LHP Vidal Nuno (1-1, 1.13) vs. LHP Matt Moore (8-0, 2.29)
4:10 p.m. YES / MLB Net.

Sun., 5/26 at Tampa Bay
LHP CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.43) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (5-2, 2.73)
1:40 p.m. YES / TBS

News, notes and quotes — in case you missed it:

LYLE HITS IT A MILE: We checked in with Yankees first baseman Lyle Overbay for the off-day. Overbay has done everything the Yanks could have asked and more, but now that Mark Teixeira is moving closer to rejoining the big league squad, he is hoping there is a way for him to co-exist on the roster with Teixeira.

One note I didn’t squeeze into the story – Overbay is renting a place in the New York suburbs for his wife and four children, and obviously buying isn’t an option. They’ve carved out a comfortable life as long as this lasts – “The kids need a yard to run around and be kids,” he said – but obviously there are no guarantees it’ll run through the entire season.

With Travis Hafner on the roster as solely a designated hitter, it makes it difficult to commit to carrying two first basemen in Teixeira and Overbay. Overbay has seven homers, 25 RBIs and a .753 OPS this season in 160 plate appearances – through nearly the same number of plate appearances last year, Teixeira had five homers, 20 RBIs and a .665 OPS.

Teixeira, by the way, could begin a Minor League rehab assignment next week – possibly Tuesday for Double-A Trenton.

PROGRESS FOR PINEDA: Michael Pineda threw five innings in an Extended Spring Training game on Thursday, coincidentally just as the Mariners were optioning Jesus Montero to Triple-A. Pineda is on track to make his Yankees debut this summer and has reportedly been clocked around 95 mph, which is a very good sign coming off labrum surgery.

You know, it was easy to crush the Yankees and deem the trade a failure when Pineda missed all of 2012, but there’s a reason baseball people say you need a minimum of three years to begin evaluating the returns on a deal. I’ll admit that I was skeptical considering the nature of Pineda’s injury, but it’s possible the Yanks might ‘win’ this deal in the end after all.

A healthy (and cost-effective!) Pineda would go a long way toward answering some questions in the Yankees’ future, especially with Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda a question mark to pitch beyond this year and Phil Hughes heading for possible free agency.

KURODA SORE, BUT SHOULD BE READY: We’ve mentioned this in a few places but continue to get questions about it, so… after taking a Manny Machado liner off his right calf on Wednesday night, Kuroda is expected to make his next start. Joe Girardi said he’d be “shocked” if Kuroda wasn’t able to take that turn in the rotation. That could come Tuesday against the Mets at Citi Field.

CAPTAIN JAVA: Anthony DiComo, MLB.com’s Mets reporter, passed this story on to me and it’s good for a chuckle. Apparently the New York Post’s photographers caught Derek Jeter exiting a Greenwich Village Starbucks carrying a cup with ‘Philip’ scribbled on the side.

So what? An alias for the captain? Perhaps, though it’s possible Jeter just has another addition to the long list of erroneous Starbucks names. (Mine are usually something subtle like “Brian,” “Ryan” or “Brayan,” but I’ve seen Connie get turned into “Pawnee.” True story.)

Phil Hughes seems to think it might have been for him. Here’s what he tweeted this morning:

I could go for a venti iced myself. We’ll have more non-coffee updates for you tonight from the Trop.

1 Comment

I just hope that when Tex and Arod and even Jeter come back that they earn the right to be starters at their position and it isn’t just handed to them because of their big contractrs and name/reputation. These “fill ins” have done a great job and it would be a travesty to bump them for someone who might be making a lot of money but who can’t perform on the field or the plate like the guys who have been there for half of the year. I’m concerned about disrupting the team chemistry. They’re playing as a team and unit and they’re happy to have had a chance to play and to play with the Yankees. They’re motivated. We can’t afford to wait for Tex to take a month or two to warm up. And who’s to say they won’t break down physically and have to go on the DL again and if you’ve dropped Overbay and Wells and Adams then who have you got as backup? It’s a tough decision for Girardi and Cashman but it needs to be handled carefully and not worry about some hurt pride or feelings of guys with big contracts if they’re not getting the job done.


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