Yankees-Blue Jays Preview

The Associated Press

After getting some bad news about one star player, the New York Yankees are hoping that Andy Pettitte's return can help them bounce back from the end to a win streak.

Their next opponent, though, might also get a key player back from injury as Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista could return from a sore back in Friday night's series opener at Rogers Centre.

The 40-year-old Pettitte (2-0, 1.20 ERA) had gotten this season off to a superb start before back spasms forced him to skip his most recent scheduled start.

"I feel good. It was a good decision," Pettitte told the team's website. "I don't want to second guess anybody. ... It's not that big of an issue. Hopefully, I'll feel great Friday."

The Yankees (8-6), who recently learned that shortstop Derek Jeter won't be back until after the All-Star break, are hoping for another effective outing from their 247-game winner after missing their chance at a season-high fourth straight win Thursday. Francisco Cervelli hit a tying solo homer in the ninth inning against Arizona but New York gave up four runs in the 12th in a 6-2 defeat.

"The homer right now doesn't mean anything, because we lost the game," Cervelli told the team's website. "I don't care if I hit three homers and we lost. I'm not happy.

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, head into this series after avoiding a season-high third straight defeat with a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

"A win does wonders. I don't care what time of year it is," manager John Gibbons said.

Despite making some high-profile deals in the offseason, Toronto (7-9) is off to a lackluster start and has experienced just one win streak. The Blue Jays are hoping that Bautista can come back Friday and lead them to another.

The outfielder has sat out the past four games with his back woes and missed seven total contests this season. Gibbons said Thursday that Bautista was "showing progress" and might return for the series opener against the Yankees.

Brandon Morrow (0-1, 4.60) will start for Toronto and try to record his third straight scoreless outing against the Yankees. The right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer in two of his three starts this season but once again struggled to get run support Sunday in Kansas City.

Morrow gave up two runs over six innings but did not get a decision in a 3-2 loss.

"It was a nice job pitching," Gibbons said.

Morrow hasn't given up a run in his last 16 innings against New York, including back-to-back wins. He's also 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA in his last four matchups.

Pettitte has allowed three runs or fewer in four straight outings against Toronto but had a four-game win streak versus the Blue Jays snapped with a 3-2 loss at Rogers Centre on Sept. 29.

Pettittie's 15 career wins in Toronto are his second-most in an opposing stadium, trailing only his 16 in Baltimore.

The Yankees have gone 11-7 against the Blue Jays in each of the last two seasons but have dropped five of their nine games in Toronto in both years.

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