The superstar third baseman has struggled against left-handers, batting .214 - his worst mark as a full-time starter. He’s 5 for 22 with no homers against Royals left-hander Bruce Chen(notes) (5-3, 4.06 ERA), who starts Thursday. Kansas City (41-53) is scheduled to start three right-handers over the remainder of this series.
New York (59-34), meanwhile, has won the last nine starts by Sabathia (12-3, 3.13), whose eight-start win streak ended in Friday’s 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay. The left-hander trailed after allowing four runs over seven innings, raising his ERA since the start of June to 2.03.
“I was just trying to keep the game where it was at,” Sabathia said. “These guys, that’s why we are who we are, they came back and battled and we ended up winning the game.”
Sabathia, who turned 30 on Wednesday, is 7-4 with a 2.94 ERA in his last 14 starts against the Royals, although David DeJesus(notes) (.291), Billy Butler(notes) (.333) and Jason Kendall(notes) (.389) have all enjoyed success against him.
Chen is 1-3 with a 6.14 ERA in 10 starts against the Yankees, whom he hasn’t faced since 2006. He’s 4-3 with a 4.28 ERA in nine starts this year and did not get a decision after allowing four runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 6-5 loss to Oakland last Thursday.
The slumping Jeter had three hits and scored three times in Wednesday’s 10-6 victory over the Angels. Jeter is 5 for 14 in three games after a 10-for-57 skid.
“He’s made some minor adjustments and he’s swinging the bat better, and that’s a great sign,” manager Joe Girardi told the Yankees’ official website.
Kansas City expects to activate outfielder Rick Ankiel(notes) off the disabled list at some point in this series. Ankiel has been out since May 2 with a strained right quadriceps and is hitting .210 in 19 games.
The Royals expect to put Ankiel in center field and move DeJesus to right field.
The Brooklyn-born DeJesus is among the major league leaders with a .320 average. He missed last season’s trip to the new Yankee Stadium and is a career .242 hitter against New York.