Rangers-Yankees Preview


Missing the playoffs in two straight years for the first time in Derek Jeter's career is not the sendoff the New York Yankees want to give their retiring captain.

General manager Brian Cashman is trying to prevent it, and his most recent move paid off immediately against the Texas Rangers.

After coming over in a trade that the Yankees hope will bolster the offense, Chase Headley gave them a victory and now makes his first start at third base Wednesday night in the third of a four-game set.

The biggest injury concerns for the Yankees (51-48) are in the starting rotation, but several ailments have also sidelined Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran at times. Teixeira, who has a team-leading 17 homers and 48 RBIs, is out with a strained back muscle.

Cashman tried to address the pitching concerns by adding Brandon McCarthy in a trade with Arizona early this month before acquiring Headley from San Diego on Tuesday.

Headley, who spent his first eight seasons with the Padres, was hitting .229 with seven homers and 32 RBIs but had a .339 average over his last 13 games in the NL.

He came on as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning Tuesday and went 0 for 3 before delivering a run-scoring single in the 14th that gave New York a 2-1 victory and a fourth win in five games out of the All-Star break.

"Unbelievable," Headley said. "I'm excited to be here. I can't wait to help, and just to be a part of this great franchise."

The 30-year-old switch-hitter could benefit from the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium after playing in the cavernous Petco Park in San Diego. He has just 87 career homers, 58 of which have come from the left side of the plate.

New York, which has put up the second-fewest runs in the AL (393), was held scoreless for 17 innings by a Rangers team with the highest ERA in the AL before tying it in the 13th after Texas had gone ahead.

Helping to fill the gaps in a battered New York rotation missing four of its initial starters is David Phelps (4-4, 3.87 ERA), who has posted a 2.52 ERA over his last four outings.

The right-hander went 6 1-3 innings in Friday's 4-3 win over Cincinnati, giving up three runs - two earned - with seven strikeouts for his first victory since June 19.

He'll be opposed by Yu Darvish (9-5, 2.88), one of the few bright spots - along with Adrian Beltre - during a trying season for Texas (40-60). Darvish, however, has seemed far more hittable since mid-June after a dominant start to 2014.

After going 7-2 with a 2.11 ERA through 12 starts, the right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.66 mark over his previous six, though he does have a pair of stellar outings in that span. Darvish struck out 12 and allowed one run over 6 2-3 innings in a 5-1 win at Toronto on Friday that ended his team's eight-game skid.

"Guys like Darvish, I don't care what your lineup is, they're gonna cut you up good and limit your opportunities," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told MLB's official website.

Jeter hit his 535th double in the ninth inning Tuesday to snap a tie with Lou Gehrig atop the team's all-time list.

Rangers catcher Geovany Soto (groin) was placed on the disabled list Tuesday after playing in three games since returning from knee surgery that had kept him out all season.