New York (57-33) at Tampa Bay (44-47)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Mon Jul 19, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With their starting staff depleted by injuries, the New York Yankees will turn to rookie Alex Graman as they open a two-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field.

Graman saw his first major league action with the Yankees in April, yielding six runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings in two appearances. His first career start lasted just 2 2-3 innings as he was pounded for five runs and eight hits in New York’s come-from-behind 11-8 win over the Chicago White Sox on April 20.

The 26-year-old left-hander was demoted soon afterward, and when the Yankees needed an extra starter last month they promoted left-hander Brad Halsey from Double-A instead of recalling Graman.

While Mike Mussina (elbow) and Kevin Brown (back, parasite) continue to work their way off the disabled list, the Yankees decided to give Graman another chance Monday. He went 8-3 with a 3.16 ERA with Triple-A Columbus.

Brown threw a bullpen session for the second straight day Sunday, and is scheduled to make his second rehabilitation start Tuesday. Mussina’s elbow problem may be more serious than the Yankees initially thought as he admitted earlier this week that he was unable to touch his right shoulder with his hand due to the stiffness.

With rumors gaining momentum that the Yankees are going hard after Arizona ace Randy Johnson, Graman isn’t expected to be more than a stopgap in New York’s pitching plans.

However, he will try to help the Yankees rebound from Sunday’s 4-2 loss in Detroit.

Ruben Sierra belted a two-run homer, but also struck out for the game’s final out with a runner at second as the Yankees split their four-game series with the Tigers.

The Devil Rays lost four in a row to New York at Yankee Stadium prior to the All-Star break, but earned a split of their four-game set with Baltimore by cruising to a 7-2 win Sunday.

Mark Hendrickson pitched his second career complete game and Carl Crawford had a two-run triple for Tampa Bay, which has won two of three since a five-game skid.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Graman Cin vs. R. Bell CWS
0-0 Record 8-8
19.80 ERA 4.46
4 K 57
2 BB 41
3.20 WHIP 1.32