New York (16-12) at Seattle (11-17)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 55° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri May 7, 2004
  • TV: YES, FSNW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jon Lieber’s debut with the New York Yankees was a rousing success. But after a 1 1/2 -year layoff, the veteran right-hander knows he has a long way to go if he wants to re-establish himself as a consistent, and healthy, big league pitcher.

Lieber hopes to build on his first win in pinstripes when the Yankees open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

Lieber, out since August 2002 after undergoing shoulder surgery, missed the start of the season with a nagging groin injury. But he finally made his first career Yankee Stadium start Saturday, and came through it with flying colors.

The 34-year-old right-hander surrendered three runs and five hits over seven solid innings as the Yankees cruised to a 12-4 win over Kansas City.

A 20-game winner with the Chicago Cubs in 2001, Lieber retired 15 of 16 batters during one brilliant stretch and got 13 ground-ball outs with his hard sinker.

“I feel like I got a second chance right now and I just want to make the most of it. It’s just been a long road. I just want to give back as much as I can,” Lieber said.

“It’s an honor just to be a part of this team.”

With Cuban right-hander Jose Contreras struggling mightily, Lieber will play an even more important role in the New York rotation. Contreras was sent down to Class A Tampa earlier in the week, meaning Lieber will eventually move into the fourth slot behind Mike Mussina, Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez.

Vazquez was unable to extend the Yankees’ season-high eight-game winning streak Wednesday, squandering an early four-run lead in a 7-4 loss in Oakland.

New York was held to six hits after pounding out 28 in the previous two games.

The Mariners have won three of four, including Thursday’s 2-1 victory over Minnesota. Freddy Garcia pitched seven strong innings for his first win as Seattle recorded its eight come-from-behind win of the young season.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lieber ChC vs. R. Franklin StL
14-8 Record 4-16
4.33 ERA 4.90
102 K 104
18 BB 61
1.32 WHIP 1.42