Royals-Yankees Preview

For the past five months, opposing teams have honored Derek Jeter and presented him with parting gifts during pregame ceremonies.

Sunday it will be the New York Yankees’ turn.

Prior to their series finale with the Kansas City Royals, the Yankees will hold a special tribute for the retiring superstar in what is appropriately being called Derek Jeter Day.

There has been no conformation on who will be in attendance to honor the Yankee captain, but several of Jeter’s former teammates as well as his family and other guests are expected to be part of the ceremony. New York (73-67) will wear a special patch for Jeter on its jerseys and hats, and although the rumors that the Yankees will retire his No. 2 on Sunday have been squelched, there are reports the ceremony will last about 90 minutes.

Jeter, who has received autographed jerseys, bases, wine, grandstand seats, scoreboard numbers, golf clubs, cowboy boots, a guitar and even a paddle board as retirement gifts from other major league teams, has tried not to think about what the Yankees may have planned.

"I don’t know anything. I haven’t been told. I don’t even know what time I have to be here," Jeter told MLB’s official website. "I don’t know if that’s by design, but no one’s told me anything. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to something that I assume would be pretty special."

While the atmosphere will be lighthearted before the game, the pressure is on New York as it is trying to avoid missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1992 and ’93.

After finishing with three hits in losing Friday’s series opener 1-0, the Yankees had five extra-base hits in Saturday’s 6-2 victory. Martin Prado had three hits for his third straight multihit game and is batting .406 with eight doubles and 13 runs in his last 16 contests.

”Hitting is contagious, I believe,” manager Joe Girardi said. ”It just picks your club up. It’s uplifting. The last 20 games, he’s been unbelievable.”

New York took advantage of Kansas City’s bullpen after starter Danny Duffy left after throwing just one pitch because of left shoulder soreness. Duffy, who returned in August 2013 following Tommy John surgery, entered the game with a 2.44 ERA, third-best in the AL.

With the Royals (78-62) two games ahead of second-place Detroit in the AL Central, manager Ned Yost didn’t want to speculate on a timetable for Duffy’s return until after his MRI on Sunday.

Yordano Ventura (11-9, 3.38 ERA) was scratched from his Aug. 27 start due to a sore back and pitched well in his return Monday against Texas, yielding three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 victory.

"I felt as good as I did before," he said. "The days of rest were obviously very good for me, for my arm as well as my back."

The rookie right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.61 ERA in his last six starts, limiting opponents to a .199 batting average.

Ventura has never faced the Yankees, and New York rookie Shane Greene (4-2, 3.88) will be getting his first look at the Royals.

After going 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in his final four August starts, Greene was tagged for a season-high six runs, six hits and three walks in 2 2-3 innings of a 9-4 loss to Boston on Tuesday.

”It’s my first and it probably won’t be my last one like this, so I just have to keep grinding,” Greene said.

Excluding a dominating performance against Detroit on Aug. 7, the right-hander has gone 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in his other four starts at Yankee Stadium.

Greene has found success, however, against the AL Central. He’s faced each of Kansas City’s four division rivals once, going 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA.