After getting a few days off to tend to “personal business”, Kevin Brown will make his return to the mound for the New York Yankees when they continue a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field.
Originally scheduled to start Thursday in Baltimore, Brown was given an excused leave of absence from the team to take care of undisclosed personal matters. The veteran right-hander is coming off his first loss as a Yankee, a 9-7 setback at Texas on May 21 in which he surrendered five runs and a season-high 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings.
Brown, who was unbeaten in his first nine starts for New York, failed in his bid to become the first Yankee to win his first six decisions with the club since Charles Hudson in 1987.
“I think he got frustrated,” manager Joe Torre said of Brown, who squandered an early three-run lead. “It looked like he tried to throw too hard, and when that happens, you don’t always locate when you want to.”
Brown has specialized in beating the Devil Rays, already defeating them three times this season, including his Yankee debut in Japan on March 31. He has yielded just three runs and 16 hits over 21 innings against Tampa Bay this season, striking out 14 and walking four.
Derek Jeter finally appears to have broken out of his season-long slump. The Yankees’ star shortstop went 3-for-5 with a homer in Friday’s series-opening 7-5 win, giving him nine hits in his last three games. Jeter, who was struggling to stay above .200 for most of the season, has boosted his average to .221 with the surge.
Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth for his 300th career save as New York won its fifth straight.
Aubrey Huff went 4-for-5 with a homer for Tampa Bay, which had won six of seven—its best stretch of the season.