Yankees-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

With injuries mounting, the New York Yankees continue to search for offense as they try to avoid their worst start in seven years.

Finding some may again prove difficult when they face the Max Scherzer and the host Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

With their lineup ravaged by injuries, the Yankees have expectedly struggled to score. New York (1-3) has managed 10 runs and is batting .225 after an 8-3 loss to the Tigers on Friday.

Manager Joe Girardi said Friday that Derek Jeter may not return until next month, while Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and outfielder Curtis Granderson remain out for an extended period.

Making matters worse, Eduardo Nunez - Jeter's replacement at shortstop - is day-to-day after getting hit by a pitch in the fourth inning Friday. Jayson Nix filled in the rest of the way and could start at short Saturday.

"I feel sad about myself and my teammates, the injuries are coming to this team so fast,'' Nunez said.

The Yankees haven't started 1-4 since 2006, when they went on to win the AL East and tied for the best record in baseball at 97-65.

''I still believe we have a team that can go out and play well and win games,'' Girardi said.

However, avoiding matching that five-game mark of seven years ago my prove difficult against Scherzer, who makes his season debut after allowing one run and striking out 20 in 15 2-3 innings during spring training.

Scherzer has given the Yankees a difficult time even when they've had their stars in the lineup. He's 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 35 1-3 innings in six career starts against them.

Ten of those strikeouts came in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-1 victory Oct. 18 that wrapped up the Tigers' ALCS sweep of the Yankees.

New Yankee Travis Hafner is batting .368 with a home run against the right-hander, and he's off to a good start with a .308 average (4 for 13) and a homer in four games.

Fellow newcomer Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run home run Friday and is batting .375 on the season. However, star second baseman Robinson Cano, off to a 2 for 15 start, is 2 for 11 against Scherzer.

The Yankees will get back one of their injured players in right-hander Phil Hughes, a surprise starter for this game. Hughes, who's been out since Feb. 18 with a bulging disk in his upper back, had been scheduled to make a rehab start in the minors Saturday, but he'll take the ball in Detroit instead with the Yankees needing pitching help.

Hughes' last outing of 2012 came at Comerica Park in Game 3 of the ALCS, when he was forced to leave after three innings with a stiff back. The right-hander has gone 4-5 with a 4.41 ERA in nine starts against the Tigers, including playoffs.

He may not be too thrilled to make his debut against third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who's 9 for 20 (.450) with four home runs and two doubles versus Hughes. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta is 8 for 17 (.471) with three doubles off of him.

Prince Fielder is 0 for 6 against Hughes, but he hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fifth inning Friday and added a two-run shot in the seventh. He had been off to a rough start, going 0 for 8 in his previous two games.

"I knew I was getting close,'' Fielder said.

Fielder has gone 6 for 12 in his last three regular-season home matchups with the Yankees.

Omar Infante, Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter each went 2 for 4 on Friday. Infante and Jackson have opened the season on four-game hitting streaks.

"Hitting is contagious in general," said catcher Alex Avila, who added a solo homer.

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