American League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 8th (All times Eastern)
New York Yankees (2-4) at Cleveland Indians (3-3), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: NY Yankees - Hiroki Kuroda (0-1, 13.50) Cleveland - Ubaldo Jimenez (0-0, 1.50)
(Sports Network) - Cleveland fans get their first look at new manager Terry Francona on Monday when the Indians kick off their home slate against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field.
Francona, of course, is no stranger to the Yankees, having faced them from 2004-11 as manager of the Boston Red Sox. Now, though, he guides an Indians team that returns home after a 3-3 road trip to start the season.
Cleveland salvaged the finale of its three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, as Carlos Santana went 5-for-5 with a home run and three RBI and Mark Reynolds went deep twice and drove in four runs to help the Indians get past David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays, 13-0.
The Indians, after getting shut out in the first two games of the set, came alive with 17 hits -- five via the long ball. Lonnie Chisenhall belted a three-run homer and Michael Bourn added a solo shot in the rout.
"They were just crushing balls," winning starter Justin Masterson said of Cleveland's offense. "It was pretty cool to see."
Francona won't be the only familiar face across the way, as Cleveland first baseman Nick Swisher will be facing his former team for the first time since signing a 4-year, $56 million deal this offseason.
"Oh, man, that's going to be the jam," Swisher said. "How much fun is that going to be? I mean, Opening Day sold out in six minutes? I think it's great, man. This city is so excited for us this year. There's a buzz in the 216 (Cleveland area code), man, and we're super excited to get back there."
Also playing in Cleveland for the first time as a visitor will be Yankees designated hitter Travis Hafner, who spent the last 10 years with the Indians. Hafner clubbed 200 home runs during his decade-long tenure with the Indians.
"I think it'll be fun to go back there and see everybody," Hafner said. "I've known the front office for a long time, teammates, clubhouse workers, guys who work at the stadium who I've gotten to be good friends with. Really, just a bunch of people would be good to see."
New York didn't miss Swisher on Sunday, as it banged Justin Verlander around and avoided a three-game sweep with a 7-0 win. CC Sabathia outdueled the former AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner with seven scoreless innings that saw him allow just four singles, as the Yankees won for only the second time in six tries to start the season.
"CC really has a lot of pride in what he does and understands the ace role and that we needed to win a game today," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
Jayson Nix hit a two-run homer for New York, while Francisco Cervelli and Kevin Youkilis also knocked in two runs apiece.
New York will rely on Japanese righty Hiroki Kuroda, who didn't make it out of the second inning in his season debut. Kuroda was banged around for two runs and four hits in just 1 1/3 innings, but left with a bruise on his finger after getting hit with a line drive.
"I'd have to say I don't feel normal (to not pitch)," Kuroda said. "I feel a little discomfort there. It's a batted ball that hit my hand in my fingers, so that's natural, I think."
Cleveland, meanwhile, will counter with righty Ubaldo Jimenez, who was terrific his first time out. Jimenez didn't get a win against Toronto, but was solid, allowing just a run and three hits in six innings. He also struck out six and walked a pair.
"I thought he was outstanding," Francona said. "His secondary stuff, his direction to the plate, down, everything."
The Yankees took five of six from the Indians last season.
04/08 10:31:23 ET