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News » Yankees-Orioles Preview 2009-05-09

Yankees-Orioles Preview 2009-05-09

Yankees-Orioles Preview 2009-05-09
The New York Yankees are going to need more than a healthy Alex Rodriguez to meet their lofty expectations but they are instantly better with the three-time MVP back in their lineup.

After a triumphant season debut, Rodriguez tries to lead the Yankees to a second straight victory Saturday night as they continue a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Tormented by stories of his steroid use and slowed by hip surgery that forced him to miss his team's first 28 games, Rodriguez immediately made his presence felt in his first at-bat of the season Friday, hitting a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw from Jeremy Guthrie.

"It was awesome," Rodriguez said. "It was just nice to get to the ballpark, give the guys a hug and do what I do best."

Rodriguez's 554th career homer and a four-hitter by CC Sabathia helped the Yankees (14-15) to a 4-0 victory that ended a five-game losing streak, their longest under second-year manager Joe Girardi.

"I think you're always hoping that every time he comes up he hits a home run. You know, that's the impact he has," Girardi said. "Your concern when a guy first comes back is his timing, but he was ready for it."

New York's third basemen hit a combined .202 with no homers and 10 RBIs while Rodriguez was sidelined. That lack of production further weakened the Yankees lineup which was 6 for 43 with runners in scoring position during the recent slide.

Rodriguez's return should also eventually benefit slumping Mark Teixeira, who went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk Friday, dropping his average to .192.

While getting Rodriguez back gave the Yankees a huge lift, Sabathia's performance was equally important. The burly left-hander, who entered with a 4.85 ERA, retired 23 of 24 batters from the first to ninth inning en route to his 11th career shutout.

"Gosh darn, the guy was exceptional," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "One run would have done it for him."

Coming off a home sweep of Minnesota, the Orioles (12-18) failed to win three straight for the first time this season and were shut out for the first time in 2009.

Phil Hughes (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will try to follow Sabathia's example when he makes his third start for New York. After an outstanding season debut, Hughes wasn't nearly as sharp Monday against Boston as he allowed four runs, seven hits and four walks over four innings in a 6-4 loss.

The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in three career starts versus Baltimore, losing his only appearance at Camden Yards on April 18, 2008.

Baltimore's Nick Markakis is 4-for-8 with a pair of doubles off Hughes.

Adam Eaton (1-3, 7.18) counters for the Orioles. The veteran right-hander has struggled this season with the exception of one stellar start against the Chicago White Sox on April 23 that resulted in his only victory. Eaton has allowed at least four earned runs in four of his five starts while pitching past the fifth inning just twice.

He didn't receive a decision in his last outing after yielding four runs and five hits over five innings in Baltimore's 8-4 win at Tampa Bay on Monday.

Eaton is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in two starts against the Yankees but hasn't faced them since July 25, 2006, with Texas.

Teixeira is 5-for-8 with a home run, double and triple against his former Rangers teammate.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 9, 2009

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