Minnesota (8-3) at Cleveland (4-7)

  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Apr 17, 2005
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C.C. Sabathia has done his part to intensify the rivalry between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins.

He’ll make his season debut for the Indians as they try to snap the Twins’ six-game winning streak in the finale of a three-game series at Jacobs Field.

The burly left-hander, who began the season on the disabled list with a strained abdominal muscle, is looking forward to ending Minnesota’s run.

“I hate the Twins,” he said. “They know it.”

The strong words have drawn quite a reaction from the Twins, who believe their dominance in winning three straight Central Division titles has much to do with Sabathia’s distaste.

“C.C. should hate us,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s trying to beat our brains out. I don’t think you should take it personally.”

Sabathia feels he has fully recovered from the injury, which occurred as he was warming up for his first spring start on March 6. He allowed one earned run and four hits over nine innings in a pair of rehab starts at Double-A Akron.

“I did everything I needed to do,” said Sabathia about his rehab outings. “I fielded the bunt; I threw some pitches as hard as I could.”

The 24-year-old southpaw is 4-3 with a 4.00 ERA in 12 career starts against the Twins. Sabathia is 1-0 with a 2.29 ERA in three home outings against Minnesota.

“C.C. is eager to start,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “And we’re happy to have him back.”

Sabathia will be opposed by Joe Mays, who is 0-6 with a 6.01 ERA against Cleveland in 16 career appearances, including 11 starts. Most of the losses have been at Jacobs Field, where Mays is 0-5 with a 6.53 ERA in nine appearances.

To make room for Sabathia, Cleveland right-hander Matt Miller was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. Miller was not happy about the demotion.

“I’d almost rather be designated (for assignment) to give myself a chance to get claimed by somebody else,” Miller said.

Minnesota is on its longest winning streak since a nine-game run from September 7-16, 2004. The Twins received three-run homers from Torii Hunter and Lew Ford in a 6-4 win on Saturday.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Mays LAD vs. C. Sabathia NYY
6-10 Record 15-10
5.65 ERA 4.03
59 K 161
41 BB 62
1.56 WHIP 1.26