Making his first start in nearly four months, Jaret Wright hopes to give the New York Yankees’ injury-plagued starting rotation a boost when he takes the mound for the opener of a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Wright, who won a career-high 15 games for Atlanta last year, signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Yankees this past offseason. The hard-throwing right-hander went 2-2 in his first four starts for New York before landing on the disabled list April 24 with inflammation of his throwing shoulder.
With starters Carl Pavano (shoulder), Kevin Brown (back) and Chien-Ming Wang (shoulder) on the DL, and Randy Johnson nursing a bad back that forced him to miss his last start, Wright’s return is critical for a team looking to reach the postseason for the 11th straight season.
He threw 103 pitches for Class A Tampa Bay on Tuesday, deeming himself fit to rejoin the big league club.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Jaret,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “He’s worked hard to come back.”
The Yankees finished a 5-2 homestand with a four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers, including Sunday’s 10-3 victory.
The Devil Rays are coming off their first-ever three-game sweep at Jacobs Field, including Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Cleveland. Pinch-hitter Travis Lee homered off Indians closer Bob Wickman with one out in the ninth inning as Tampa Bay finished 6-6 on its 12-game road trip.
“What a nice way to end this trip,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “Our schedule is filled with teams that have postseason aspirations and hopefully we can ruin their plans.”
The Devil Rays have won seven of their first 10 meetings with the playoff-hopeful Yankees.