Rookie Sean Henn got his first taste of major league competition last month in Tampa Bay, getting pounded for six runs over 2 1-3 innings in an 11-8 loss to the Devil Rays.
Henn and rest of the red-hot New York Yankees will be out for revenge when they open a four-game series with the last-place Devil Rays.
Henn, who will be filling the rotation spot of injured right-hander Kevin Brown (back), made his big league debut May 4 at Tropicana Field. He didn’t make it out of the third inning, surrendering seven hits and walking two as the Yankees lost three of four games in Tampa Bay.
Now, the 24-year-old left-hander will be asked to help continue New York’s six-game winning streak. He arrived in the Bronx during Sunday’s 6-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs, watching the Yankees improve to 6-0 on their season-high 13-game homestand.
“Right now, I’m a little more relaxed,” said Henn, sitting at his locker in the Yankees’ clubhouse. “It’s nice to have done it before.”
Henn began the year with Double-A Trenton and was promoted to Triple-A Columbus after his first outing with the Yankees. In four starts with Trenton, he went 2-1 with an 0.71 ERA. He was 4-2 with a 3.19 ERA in eight starts for Columbus before the Yankees came calling again.
“When we sent him out, he didn’t have a good start but we promoted him,” said manager Joe Torre. “We feel his ability should dictate where he should pitch.”
Despite his team’s recent resurgence, Torre doesn’t want the Yankees to get complacent with the struggling Devil Rays coming to town, especially since they’ve lost four of the first six meetings to Tampa Bay.
“I’m not anointing this club,” Torre said. “I think we have to constantly prove ourselves—to ourselves.”
The Devil Rays have lost 16 of 20, including a three-game sweep to St. Louis over the weekend.
Tampa Bay dropped to 3-12 in interleague play with Sunday’s 8-5 loss to the Cardinals. They were a major league-best 15-3 against NL teams last year.
“We’re competing, but not scoring. There’s a big difference. It’s hard. It’s really tough,” said Tampa Bay first baseman Travis Lee.