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N.Y. Yankees «0001200306130
Tampa Bay000020000262

Yankees announce major changes after beating Devil Rays

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Get ready for the new-look New York Yankees.

Hideki Matsui is moving to center field for an ailing Bernie Williams. Tony Womack is headed to left, and Robinson Cano is coming up from the minors to play second base every day. Plus, Randy Johnson could wind up on the disabled list because of a stiff groin, putting another young pitcher in the rotation.

"We're looking to get this thing on track. We just feel there are certain things we need to start doing," general manager Brian Cashman said after Monday night's 6-2 victory over Tampa Bay improved New York's record to 11-15.

With his $200 million collection of talent struggling below .500 this late in a season for the first time in more than a decade, Cashman felt compelled to do something. He called owner George Steinbrenner on Sunday and said he wanted to travel to Tampa to join the team.

"The way we're playing, I don't want to be too far away," Cashman said.

He and manager Joe Torre began a major overhaul by announcing a series of moves that will change the look of the lineup, as well as the rotation.

For starters, Johnson will miss his scheduled start against the Devil Rays on Wednesday night because of stiffness in his left groin, an injury that Cashman said could land the Big Unit on the disabled list. Sean Henn will be called up from Double-A Trenton to fill in.

In addition, the Yankees plan to bring up Cano from the minors. He was hitting .333 at Triple-A Columbus with four homers and 24 RBI. Matsui will move from left to center in place of Williams, who has been bothered by tendinitis in his right elbow, and Womack will shift to left.

Williams, who had an RBI on Monday night, will be used primarily as a designated hitter until his health improves.

"We're going to try things. We're looking to find a way to get this thing going in the right direction," Cashman reiterated. "This is a game plan Joe and I talked about (Sunday) and are implementing today."

Mike Mussina pitched seven solid innings and Gary Sheffield went 3-for-4 with an RBI in Monday night's victory, which extended Tampa Bay's losing streak to a season-high eight games.

Rey Sanchez had a two-run single and Jorge Posada also drove in a run for New York, which lost six of nine games at Yankee Stadium during a homestand that concluded Sunday with an ugly 8-6 loss to Toronto.

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella was incensed by his team's shoddy defense. Two of the three runs starter Scott Kazmir (0-3) allowed were unearned, and Tampa Bay committed two errors and let a routine fly ball drop for a hit.

"Bad, bad, bad baseball. That's what it was. ... And like I told the players, either they're going to get better or we're going to have them out here every day at 1 o'clock until they do get better. It's their choice," Piniella said.

Mussina (2-2) allowed five hits, including Alex Sanchez's two-run homer, in his 213th career victory. He struck out two and walked two before being replaced by Tom Gordon in the eighth. Mariano Rivera struck out all three batters in the ninth.

Sheffield had an RBI double in the fifth off Kazmir, who allowed eight hits in six innings. The Yankees scored three in the eighth off reliever Travis Harper to put the game away.

Not every New York player had a good night. Andy Phillips struck out all five times he went to the plate, tying a major league record set 43 times previously.

Tampa Bay's slide, which includes an 0-6 road swing, matches the second-longest in the majors this year. Colorado lost eight straight during a stretch last month, and Kansas City had a nine-game skid.

Kazmir equaled a career high with nine strikeouts and kept the Devil Rays in the game by escaping a jam in the third when he got Alex Rodriguez to ground out with the bases loaded. The Yankees stranded two more runners in the fourth, but not before Williams' two-out single drove in Posada for a 1-0 lead.

A lack of timely hitting has cost the Devil Rays throughout their losing streak, the club's second-longest under Piniella, who returned from a three-game suspension for his role in two bench-clearing scuffles with the Boston Red Sox.

The team is 1-for-13 with the bases loaded this season after failing in that situation again when Jorge Cantu flied to center after Mussina gave up a single and two walks to fill the bases with two outs in the fourth.

The Yankees pulled away in the eighth, scoring on Harper's throwing error and a two-run single by Rey Sanchez.

Notes

  • Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez had flulike symptoms. He was replaced by Phillips.
  • Devil Rays first baseman Travis Lee was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin. The team replaced him by purchasing outfielder Damon Hollins' contract from Triple-A Durham.
  • Cashman said right-hander Steve Karsay will be designated for assignment on Tuesday.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Mike Mussina goes seven strong innings, allowing five hits and two runs, picking up the win. (AP)
Mike Mussina goes seven strong innings, allowing five hits and two runs, picking up the win. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

A. Sanchez
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
New York

G. Sheffield
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS5120023 .343
Rey Sanchez, 2B5122001 .400
Gary Sheffield, RF4131101 .353
Alex Rodriguez, 3B5000007 .296
Jorge Posada, DH4111021 .235
Hideki Matsui, LF3010220 .255
Andy Phillips, 1B5000055 .160
John Flaherty, C4120012 .235
Bernie Williams, CF4021011 .247
    Bubba Crosby, PR-CF0100000 .167
Totals39613531321 
Batting
2B - Rey Sanchez (1, Kazmir), Gary Sheffield 2 (9, Kazmir, Harper)
SF - Jorge Posada (2)
RBI - Rey Sanchez 2 (2), Gary Sheffield (19), Jorge Posada (12), Bernie Williams (9)
2-OUT RBI - Bernie Williams (4)
SB - Gary Sheffield (3, 3rd base off Kazmir/Hall)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Flaherty-Sanchez
New York Yankees
Mike Mussina (W,2-2) 7522221 4.50
Tom Gordon 1100010 4.38
Mariano Rivera 1000030 2.35
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Mussina 115-72, Tom Gordon 18-12, Mariano Rivera 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Mussina 8-10, Tom Gordon 2-0
Batters Faced - Mike Mussina 27, Tom Gordon 4, Mariano Rivera 3
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Alex Sanchez, CF4112010 .295
Julio Lugo, SS4010000 .269
Carl Crawford, LF4010001 .261
Aubrey Huff, 1B3010111 .272
Josh Phelps, DH3000121 .270
Jorge Cantu, 2B4000013 .263
Nick Green, 3B4000010 .302
Toby Hall, C3010000 .323
Damon Hollins, RF3110001 .333
Totals32262267 
Batting
HR - Alex Sanchez (1, Mussina)
RBI - Alex Sanchez 2 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Sanchez 2 (3)
SB - Carl Crawford (9, 2nd base off Mussina/Flaherty), Damon Hollins (1, 2nd base off Mussina/Flaherty)
CS - Aubrey Huff (1, 2nd base by Mussina/Flaherty)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Lugo-Huff
E - Travis Harper (1, wild throw), Damon Hollins (1, dropped fly)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Scott Kazmir (L,0-3) 6831290 3.71
Travis Harper 2532110 6.62
Danys Baez 1000030 3.00
IBB - Matsui by Travis Harper
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 109-68, Travis Harper 32-20, Danys Baez 12-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 6-4, Travis Harper 3-1
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 29, Travis Harper 11, Danys Baez 3
Game Information
Attendance - 13217
Game Time - 2:51
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Bruce Froemming