Rays-Yankees Preview

Derek Jeter’s chase for 3,000 hits has extended to Saturday

after a postponement due to rain.

The New York Yankees captain is two hits shy of becoming the

28th major leaguer to reach the milestone heading into this home

matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Friday’s game was rained out, and will be made up Sept. 22 after

the Rays (49-39) opted against playing a doubleheader this weekend.

That gives Jeter two home games to reach the milestone since the

Yankees (51-35) resume play after the All-Star break with an

eight-game trip.

“Where we are right now, if I had my druthers about it, we would

probably choose later. At this point in the first half guys are run

down,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “I like the idea you have

expanded rosters in September.”

The Yankees’ preference was a split doubleheader Saturday to

give their fans three games in the Bronx this weekend to see Jeter

try to make history.

“Whether I’m frustrated or not, it doesn’t matter,” manager Joe

Girardi said. “It was important to us, it was important to our

fans.”

Jeter played his first home game since June 13 in Thursday’s 5-1

loss. He doubled in his first at-bat before failing to get a hit

his final four times up. Jeter also made the game’s final out.

His mom and dad were in the crowd of 47,787 cheering when he

came up in the first inning. The superstar shortstop said a couple

of teammates mentioned the milestone as the day progressed, but not

too many.

Jeter is 6 for 25 against left-hander David Price (8-7, 3.56

ERA), scheduled to pitch Saturday for Tampa Bay. Price is 3-1 with

a 3.93 ERA in eight career starts against the Yankees.

Price yielded four runs over six innings Monday in a 7-0 loss at

Minnesota.

New York has lost four of five, including three of four since

Jeter’s return Monday. The Yankees have dropped into second place

in the AL East behind Boston.

The third-place Rays, meanwhile, are three games behind New York

as they opened a stretch of 10 straight against the Yankees and Red

Sox in successful fashion.

Ben Zobrist went 3 for 3 with a homer and B.J. Upton also went

deep and drove in three runs for Tampa Bay, which is a major

league-best 28-18 on the road.

The Yankees will start A.J. Burnett (8-7, 4.12), who has posted

an 8.83 ERA while losing four straight starts against the Rays. The

veteran right-hander gave up six runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 6-5

loss at Tampa Bay on May 16.

Burnett went 0-3 with an 8.49 ERA in three home starts against

Tampa Bay last season. Evan Longoria is a career .371 hitter

against him.

Johnny Damon sat out Thursday’s opener with a bruised left hand,

and could return Saturday.

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera hasn’t pitched since he blew his

fourth save Sunday against the Mets. Rivera was unavailable the

next couple games due to soreness in his right triceps, although he

has indicated he is healthy enough to pitch now.

Rivera, Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will all skip the All-Star

game, with Rodriguez choosing to rest a sore knee.