The initial shock and excitement over the Ichiro Suzuki trade will likely have faded at least a little by the time the New York Yankees try to earn another win over his former club.
The Yankees might need all they can get from their new outfielder with Felix Hernandez set to start Tuesday night's game for the Seattle Mariners.
New York (58-38) completed one of the most significant deals ahead of the trading deadline when it acquired Suzuki for a pair of minor league pitchers and cash considerations hours before Monday's series opener in Seattle.
The Yankees needed the 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glover's help with Brett Gardner likely out for the season with an elbow injury and starting right fielder Nick Swisher dealing with an ailing hip flexor. Suzuki, who usually played in right for Seattle, is expected to switch to left field while with New York.
"We're very excited with the caliber of player we are getting. We feel that he brings the speed element. He's a tremendous hitter. That speed element is what we lost when (Gardner) had surgery," manager Joe Girardi said.
Suzuki, who had played his entire career in Seattle, singled in his first at-bat with his new club, stole a base and caught the final out in a 4-1 victory, the Yankees' first in five games on its West Coast road trip.
Mark Teixeira had three hits, including an RBI double in the fourth. Raul Ibanez singled in the go-ahead run in that inning and Alex Rodriguez added his 299th home run with the Yankees.
After enduring a season-high four straight defeats, New York will try to keep heading in the right direction when it faces Hernandez (8-5, 2.82 ERA) for the second time this season.
The right-hander has given up only two runs over his past 24 2-3 innings and is 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA in his last seven outings. He gave up one run and scattered eight hits over eight innings during a 6-1 victory in Kansas City on Thursday.
"He was strong again today, a lot of life at end of his pitches and he was down," manager Eric Wedge said. "He really only had to work that last inning."
The Yankees, though, have had Hernandez's number lately as he's 0-2 with a 7.11 ERA in the past two matchups. He gave up a season-high 11 hits and four runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 6-2 loss in New York on May 11.
Hernandez will pitch opposite another former Mariner and fellow Venezuelan, Freddy Garcia (4-3, 5.37), on Tuesday.
"When I signed, they brought me to Safeco and he was the first guy I met," Hernandez told the team's website. "I was always looking up to Freddy. He was my idol back in the day. He still is."
Garcia had a four-game win streak snapped with a 4-3 loss in Oakland on Thursday. He allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings during his first defeat since returning to the Yankees rotation July 2.
The veteran right-hander is 4-0 with a 4.05 ERA in his last five starts against the Mariners (42-56) with the most recent matchup July 25, 2011. He's set to play his first game in Seattle since a 6-3 win for the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 15, 2009.
Garcia was traded to the White Sox on June 27, 2004, after playing his first five-plus seasons with the Mariners.
In this matchup, he'll try to get some help from Robinson Cano, who is 14 for 34 (.412) in his career against Hernandez. Mark Teixeira has five homers off the Mariners right-hander, more than any other player.
- Felix Hernandez
- Seattle Mariners
- Ichiro Suzuki
- New York
- Mark Teixeira