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Tigers-Yankees Preview

Tigers-Yankees Preview
Even injury news isn't dampening the New York Yankees' mood following a tough, road-heavy stretch in their schedule.

New York begins a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, hoping to minimize the effects of the absences of Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez in the start of a nine-game homestand.

The Yankees (14-13) played 18 of their last 20 on the road and are coming off a 10-game stretch that included trips to Baltimore, Chicago and Cleveland. New York split its last road trip, winning the final two games of a four-game set with the Indians.

"Basically we played three weeks in a row on the road," said Mike Mussina, who earned his 253rd career victory on Monday in the Yankees' 5-2 win. "That was a seven-city road trip over three weeks and I think we played .500 for that stretch. We should be pleased with ourselves."

Unfortunately for the Yankees, they return home to face Detroit (11-15) with a few key injuries. Posada was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career Monday because of shoulder problems. The catcher has left the team to be examined by famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., but manager Joe Girardi is hopeful it's not as dire as it sounds.

"I have my fingers crossed," Girardi said.

The Yankees will also likely begin this series without Rodriguez, who played all four games against the Indians after missing the previous four with a strained right quadriceps. The star third baseman was the DH on Monday and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.

"It's hard for me not to play 100 percent," said Rodriguez, who said he felt a "pull" while running the bases. "The key for me is to get healthy."

One person that won't miss Rodriguez is Detroit starter Kenny Rogers (1-3, 7.66 ERA). Rodriguez is 10-for-19 with five homers and two doubles off the veteran left-hander.

Rogers is making his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since 2004. Since his second and final season with the Yankees in 1997, he has been back to the Bronx only four times, and is 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA in those visits. In his last outing there, Rogers lasted just four-plus innings after giving up five home runs.

"Just like everybody, we all have our favorite parks to play in or pitch in," Rogers told the Tigers' official Web site. "There's other arenas that I like a little bit better."

Rogers is 0-7 with a 9.21 ERA in his last 11 regular-season starts against the Yankees, although he pitched 7 2-3 scoreless innings to win Game 3 of a 2006 AL division series in his last outing against them.

The Yankees and Tigers split their eight meetings last season, although New York took three of four at home. After winning a season-high four straight, the Tigers lost two of three over the weekend to the Angels, concluding the series on Sunday with a 6-2 loss.

The Tigers' offense, which was expected to be among the most feared in the majors this season, showed some signs of living up to that billing during the winning streak, but they managed just five hits on Sunday.

"It's nice - if they hit," manager Jim Leyland said. "If they don't, it won't make a difference."

The Tigers will face New York's Phil Hughes (0-3, 7.85). The 21-year-old right-hander showed promise on Thursday against the White Sox, allowing one hit in two innings before a 51-minute rain delay kept him from returning in a 7-6 loss.

Hughes allowed five runs and four hits - including three home runs - in six innings of a 5-4 loss to the Tigers last season.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 29, 2008

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