By Jon Lane
The YES Network presents its first Yankees telecast this afternoon at 1:15 when the Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
New York is off a 6-1 win over Toronto in Dunedin, Fla., where Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run home run in his first game since his admission of using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03. Brett Gardner also homered to lead off the game. Brett Tomko started and pitched two scoreless innings.
Phil Hughes is anxious to rebound from an 0-4 2008 which included a broken rib that ruined his first full season. The right-hander pitched well in the Arizona Fall League, striking out 38 in 30 innings. Right now, Hughes is destined to begin the regular season in Triple-A, but would likely be the first one up in the event of an injury to one of the established starters.
To learn more about Hughes, check out one of YESNetwork.com’s exclusive Quick Cuts.
Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Xavier Nady RF
Jorge Posada DH
Jose Molina C
Melky Cabrera CF
Hughes, Phil Coke, Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Jonathan Albaladejo, Mark Melancon.
About the Rays
Joe Maddon’s 9=8 motivational slogan, his belief that nine players playing hard for nine innings leads to being one of the eight playoff teams, helped lead the Rays to a surprising AL pennant. His new slogan this year is ’09 > ’08, meaning 2009 is greater than, or better, than 2008. That would mean one thing: a World Series win. It’s going to be hard enough for the Rays to ward off the Yankees and Red Sox, but after what they did last season never put anything past Maddon’s crew.