New York (9-14) at Texas (10-15)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Arlington, TX, US
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue May 1, 2007
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New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner says he believes in his team. He isn’t likely to remain quite so patient if the losing continues.

The Yankees will look to bounce back from a disastrous April as rookie Phil Hughes starts in the opener of a three-game road series against the Texas Rangers.

The Yankees (9-14) have dropped eight of their last nine games and are in last place in the AL East, 6 1/2 games behind first-place Boston. They dropped two of three against the Red Sox over the weekend, falling to 1-5 against their arch-rivals during their slide.

The notoriously volatile Steinbrenner expressed frustration at the slow start in a statement Monday, but said he still had confidence in manager Joe Torre and general manager Brian Cashman.

“The season is still very young, but up to now the results are clearly not acceptable to me or to Yankee fans,” Steinbrenner said. “However, Brian Cashman, our general manager, Joe Torre, our manager, and our players all believe that they will turn this around quickly. I believe in them.”

New York is 3-8 on the road this season, but has averaged nearly 7.3 runs per game while winning seven straight in Arlington.

A rash of injuries to the starting rotation has been a key to New York’s slow start. The Yankees are hoping Hughes (0-1, 8.31 ERA) can help them right the ship.

On Thursday, the 20-year-old right-hander became the youngest pitcher to make his big league debut with the Yankees since 18-year-old Jose Rijo in 1984. Hughes gave up four runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-0 loss to Toronto.

“I certainly wasn’t disappointed,” Torre said of his highly touted prospect. “I don’t think he was out of his league by any stretch of the imagination.”

Derek Jeter hit a solo homer in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 7-4 loss to the Red Sox, extending his hitting streak to 17 games. Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-4 but failed to hit a homer for the fifth straight game after hitting 14 homers in his first 18 April contests to match Albert Pujols’ MLB record.

The Rangers (10-15) have dropped five of their last seven, including Monday’s 6-1 loss to Toronto. Sammy Sosa doubled in the lone run for Texas, which split its four-game set with the Blue Jays.

Kameron Loe (1-1, 5.21) will start for Texas after being pounded for seven runs in 5 1-3 innings of Thursday’s 9-4 loss to Cleveland. Loe started the season in the bullpen but was making his second start after Jamey Wright went on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

“The guy has no fear and a quiet confidence,” Rangers pitching coach Mark Connor told the team’s official Web site about Loe. “He’s become a pitcher. He’s throwing a changeup, he’s throwing a breaking ball and he’s throwing a cut fastball. He’s got a chance to be a real quality Major League starter for a long time.”

Loe has made four career appearances, including two starts, against the Yankees, going 1-3 with a 7.62 ERA.

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Starting Pitchers

P. Hughes MIN vs. K. Loe ARI
5-3 Record 6-11
4.46 ERA 5.36
58 K 78
29 BB 56
1.28 WHIP 1.60