New York (13-11) at Tampa Bay (11-16)

Partly Cloudy Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 87° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Wed May 3, 2006
  • TV: YES, FSFL
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The atmosphere won’t be the same, but the New York Yankees will still have a division rival to contend with when they return to the field.

After a brief taste of one of sports biggest rivalries, the Yankees open a two-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Wednesday at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees (13-11) lost their first meeting of the season with rival Boston on Monday, falling 7-3. The finale of the two-game set was rained out on Tuesday.

Johnny Damon, who signed with New York in the offseason after being a fan favorite in Boston for four years, was booed for 30 seconds when he led off Monday’s game in his first trip back to Fenway. He was also booed in his next three at-bats and went 0-for-4.

“You know they’re booing a uniform now,” Damon said. “They don’t boo bad players. They boo good players.”

Another former Red Sox player, reliever Mike Myers, had a rough night, giving up a three-run homer in the eighth inning to David Ortiz. Robinson Cano singled in a pair of runs for New York, which had won six of eight prior to the defeat.

Reliever Aaron Small, who went 10-0 with the Yankees last season, was charged with the loss in his first appearance after starting the season on the disabled list.

Torre said that Tuesday’s scheduled starter, Shawn Chacon, will take the mound on Saturday and Jaret Wright will go as scheduled on Wednesday. Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina will pitch on their regular days, Thursday and Friday.

“We don’t want to mess with Randy and Moose,” Torre said.

Wright (0-2, 7.20 ERA) allowed four runs and six hits in five innings of Friday’s 7-2 loss to Toronto. He has allowed four runs in each of his three outings this season, including two starts.

Torre, though, said he was pleased with Wright’s performance.

“I hope he got something positive out of it,” Torre said. “I went over to him after the game and told him there was a lot for him to hold on to. It was something I think he can build on.”

Despite Small’s return and Carl Pavano’s continuing rehabilitation, Torre said he would wait until after Wright’s start before considering an adjustment to the rotation. Pavano allowed one unearned run and two hits over five innings in an extended spring training game on Tuesday.

Wright is 5-1 with a 4.47 ERA in eight starts against the Devil Rays. He will square off against Casey Fossum (1-1, 6.11), who allowed three hits in six scoreless innings in Friday’s 5-2 win over the Red Sox.

Fossum bounced back nicely after giving up eight runs in four innings of a loss at Texas on April 23. The victory was his first since Aug. 28 of last season, when he beat the Los Angeles Angels 12-8 despite giving up seven runs in five innings.

“(Fifty-one strikes) is pretty low for me,” said Fossum, who threw 106 pitches. “But as long as they’re swinging the bat and putting the ball in play you can throw as many pitches as you want if you get outs.”

The Devil Rays (11-16) have lost 10 of 14, including Tuesday’s 7-5 defeat to the Rangers. Damon Hollins had a solo homer and Ty Wigginton and Toby Hall each drove in two runs for Tampa Bay.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Wright Pit vs. C. Fossum Bal
11-7 Record 6-6
4.49 ERA 5.33
84 K 88
57 BB 63
1.52 WHIP 1.53