Jaret Wright pitches for the first time in more than a week and looks to make his case for regular use in the playoffs Sunday afternoon when the New York Yankees continue a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Wright (9-7, 4.62 ERA) hasn’t pitched since Aug. 30, as he had a start earlier this week skipped due to Mike Mussina’s return from the disabled list. He allowed two runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings in the Aug. 30 outing, failing to receive a decision in a 5-3 loss to Detroit.
The right-hander is bidding to become the fourth starter in New York’s postseason rotation. Chien-Ming Wang, Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina have all likely secured spots, leaving Wright and midseason acquisition Cory Lidle vying for the final opening.
Wright is 2-1 with a 6.46 ERA this year in five starts with at least six days of rest. He’s 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA in three starts against the Orioles this season.
New York (84-56) could be without reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez on Sunday. The third baseman was out of the lineup for Saturday’s 3-2 victory due to illness, a problem that plagued him on the Yankees’ trip to Baltimore in June.
“It’s the same thing that happened to me the last time we were here,” Rodriguez said. “I must be allergic to something, the ice or the water. I’m not sure what it is.”
The Yankees also did not have first Jason Giambi or left fielder Bobby Abreu in the starting lineup. Giambi was out with a hand injury and Abreu was given a day to rest, although he entered as a defensive replacement.
Abreu is expected to return to the lineup Sunday. However, he is hitless in his last 11 at-bats, his longest such stretch since joining the Yankees.
Derek Jeter had an RBI single and starter Chien-Ming Wang notched his 17th victory—tying him for the league lead—with 7 1-3 effective innings on Saturday for New York.
Jeter extended his hitting streak to a career-high 19 games and is batting .397 (31-for-78) with 12 RBIs during the run.
“I don’t really get caught up in that,” Jeter said. “We’re just trying to win games.”
The Yankees’ magic number is 12 to clinch a ninth straight AL East title.
Baltimore (62-79) has lost five of its last six games and saw its four-game home winning streak snapped Saturday.
Hayden Penn (0-1, 108.00) makes his second start of the season and looks to improve on a terrible season debut. The right-hander retired only two batters and was tagged for eight runs and eight hits in a 10-1 loss at Oakland on Sunday.
“I just put it behind me,” Penn said. “It was one of those days. There’s nothing I can do about it now.”
Penn was named the organizational pitcher of the month for August after going 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Ottawa.
“I’ve seen Hayden pitch up here. I’m just anxious to see him progress,” manager Sam Perlozzo said. “I just want to see him keep getting better and show us he’d fit into the scheme of our plan.”