Yankees-White Sox Preview

The last thing the New York Yankees need is for the off-field
distraction from Alex Rodriguez’s return to hinder their play on
the diamond.

Riding a 14-inning scoreless stretch, Hiroki Kuroda looks to
help the visiting Yankees rebound from a rough performance in
Rodriguez’s season debut as they face Chris Sale and the Chicago
White Sox on Tuesday night.

Amidst a chorus of boos, Rodriguez went 1 for 4 with a bloop
single Monday, hours after he was suspended by Major League
Baseball through 2014 for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
However, Andy Pettitte allowed seven runs and 11 hits in 2 2-3
innings as New York (57-54) lost for the 12th time in 18 games, 8-1
at Chicago.

While the win snapped the White Sox’s 10-game losing streak, the
defeat ended a whirlwind day for the embattled Rodriguez, who will
continue his return from hip surgery while appealing his ban.

“We’re just getting started in this process,” Rodriquez said of
challenging the decision. “But for me, personally, I just want to
get back to baseball, playing hard and playing with a lot of
intensity. I just want to see what our team has to offer.

“My focus is: What can I do to help this team win?”

Manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees appear glad to have
Rodriguez back, but the attention drawn to his situation likely
won’t subside and could pose further distraction for a team
struggling to remain in playoff contention.

“He’s here, he’s going to play,” Girardi told the Yankees’
official website. “It really doesn’t change anything for us.”

Kuroda (10-6, 2.38 ERA) has allowed two runs over 33 innings
while going 3-0 in his last five starts. He’s not allowed a run in
four of those contests, including the last two.

The right-hander gave up five hits and struck out eight in seven
innings while not factoring in the decision of a 3-0 win Wednesday
over Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom he began his career.

“I’ve seen him do that for years,” Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw
said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the American League.”

Kuroda is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA against the White Sox (41-69). He
allowed three hits and struck out 11 in seven innings of a 4-0 win
over Chicago last season.

Sale (6-11, 2.92) looks to avoid losing four straight starts for
the second time this season after he allowed five runs and 10 hits
in five innings of a 6-1 loss at Cleveland on Thursday. The
left-hander, who has the lowest run-support average in the majors
at 2.47, is 1-9 with a 3.23 ERA in last 11 starts.

“I’m not going to sit here and make excuses,” Sale said. “I got
my butt kicked (Thursday). I didn’t feel as good as I usually do,
but I’m a professional and I have to find a way to fight through
it.”

He gave up a homer to Derek Jeter, two other hits and struck out
13 in 7 2-3 innings of a 2-1 home victory over the Yankees last
season.

Sale won’t have to face Jeter, who is back on the disabled list
with a strained calf.

Alexei Ramirez had four hits and Alex Rios four RBIs for the
White Sox, who scored 10 fewer runs Monday than they totaled during
their losing streak.

Rios is batting .321 in his last seven games.

Chicago could be without left fielder Dayan Viciedo, who jammed
his thumb in the opener trying to make a diving catch.