Vazquez will make his debut Friday night when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
New York (2-1) reacquired Vazquez in December as part of a deal that sent outfielder Melky Cabrera(notes) to Atlanta. The trade brings the veteran right-hander back to the Bronx after he went 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA with the Yankees in 2004.
His last outing with them came in Game 7 of the AL championship series against Boston. Vazquez relieved Kevin Brown in the second inning, and gave up a grand slam to Johnny Damon(notes) in the 10-3 loss.
After also pitching for Arizona and the Chicago White Sox, Vazquez is hoping for a better stint this time. He went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA last season with the Braves, tying for the team lead in wins.
“To pitch for the Yankees, it’s just the expectation to win all the time,” Vazquez told the Yankees’ official Web site. “Some teams, you go out there and you want to win, obviously, but you know your chances are a little slim compared to here.
“Here, you have the chance to get in the playoffs every year. I think that expectation is what changes things.”
Manager Joe Girardi isn’t worried about Vazquez again succumbing to pressure. The right-hander went 3-0 with a 4.19 ERA in spring training.
“I’ve told him just to be himself,” Girardi said. “As far as going back to 2004, that’s a long time. People change a lot in one year, let alone in five years.”
Curtis Granderson(notes) looks to provide Vazquez with some support after homering for the second time this season in a 3-1, 10-inning win over the Red Sox on Wednesday. Granderson, the Yankees’ new center fielder, is 4 for 12 with three runs scored.
Tampa Bay (2-1), meanwhile, failed to complete a sweep of Baltimore after losing 5-4 Thursday. The Rays scored single runs in the seventh and eighth to draw within one, but Ben Zobrist(notes) flied out with the bases loaded in the ninth to end the game.
“We had everything set up the way we wanted,” Crawford said. “Had Zobrist. You can’t ask for more. We just came up short.”
The No. 1 overall pick from Vanderbilt in 2007, Price joined the staff late last May. He went 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA over his final seven starts, and is hoping to carry over that late-season success.
“(It’s) just a lot less stress,” Price told the Rays’ official Web site. “It’s a lot easier for me this year. I’m a lot more relaxed. It’s a better feeling.”
The left-hander, who made his major league debut by pitching in relief against New York in September 2008, is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four career games against the Yankees.