What they didn’t expect was him spending the majority of the first half of the season in the minor leagues.
Igawa makes his first start for the Yankees since May 4 on Friday when they visit the skidding San Francisco Giants for the first time since the 1962 World Series.
The Yankees bid $26,000,194 for the right to negotiate with Igawa, and then signed him to a $20 million, five-year contract. The left-hander, though, went 2-1 with a 7.63 ERA in six appearances—five starts—for New York before being optioned to Class-A Tampa on May 7.
Igawa made two starts for Tampa and was moved up to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he made four starts. In those six appearances, the 27-year-old went 3-3 with a 2.65 ERA and struck out 33 over 34 innings.
Igawa will now try to help the Yankees (35-35) avoid a fourth straight loss and send the last-place Giants (30-41) to an eighth consecutive defeat.
New York had won 11 of 12 heading into its nine-game road trip, but was swept in a three-game set against Colorado. The Yankees, who had cut Boston’s lead in the AL East to 7 1/2 games on June 14, now trail the Red Sox by 10 1/2 following Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Rockies.
“This was just hopefully a pothole that we just didn’t like very much,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “But I don’t think we have any doubts on what kind of team we are right now. I think we just hit a bad spot.”
So has San Francisco.
The Giants lost to Toronto at home on June 13 and then went winless on a six-game trip against Boston and Milwaukee. They are hitting just .214 and posting a 6.95 ERA during their seven-game slide.
“We’re going bad and we know it,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who was ejected in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s 7-5 loss to the Brewers. “It’s amazing how when you’re going bad it seems like everything goes against you, too.”
Barry Bonds has appeared in each game during the skid, going 4-for-16 with one home run to move within seven of tying the all-time record of 755 set by Hank Aaron, who is good friends with Torre.
“It’s going to be a part of history no matter how we look at it, whether it’s going to be looked down upon or up to,” Torre said. “Henry, I have a great deal of admiration (for), we’re friends. You never like to say you don’t want to see anybody’s record broken because that’s what baseball is all about.”
Bonds has played only three games against New York in his career, going 4-for-7 with a homer and three RBIs in a series at Yankee Stadium in June 2002.
Matt Cain (2-7, 3.15) looks to end the Giants’ skid and his own losing streak as he starts the opener of this three-game series. The right-hander hasn’t won since May 13 at Colorado, going 0-4 in his last six starts despite posting a 3.12 ERA in those outings.
Cain allowed just one run and three hits over seven innings on Saturday, but the Giants got just four hits in a 1-0 defeat at Boston. He has allowed two runs and eight hits in 15 innings over his last two starts, but San Francisco has been shut out in both contests.
“There’s no way to react to it,” Cain told the Giants’ official Web site. “It doesn’t matter if I’m 2-7 or 7-2. If we lose, that’s the big thing.”
This is New York’s first trip to San Francisco since a 1-0 win in Game 7 of the 1962 World Series. It was the Yankees’ second straight championship and first pennant for the Giants since they left New York following the 1957 season.
These teams have met in the World Series seven times. The Giants won in 1921 and ’22 before the Yankees took the Fall Classic in ’23, ’36, ’37, ’51 and ’62.
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