Injuries may have taken their toll on the Yankees and Blue Jays, but the teams' aces are at full strength, which could mean fans at Yankee Stadium will be in for a pitching duel on Sunday.
The Yankees sport the best record in the American League East at 27-16, despite boasting an All-Star roster of wounded hitters. With Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Eduardo Nunez on the mend, general manager Brian Cashman has found himself constantly eyeing the scrapheap for any potential upgrades.
"Obviously, there's more transactions, but the job from the front office's end is always to try to find the best players whether it's small upgrades or big upgrades," Cashman said. "We're having to do a lot of mixing and matching because of the injury issues, but other than that, it's the same job."
New York's patchwork lineup will meet Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Sunday. Dickey dropped a decision to the Yankees on April 28, when he limited the Bronx Bombers to three runs on four hits in seven innings.
Dickey totes a 4.83 ERA, though two rough outings have skewed the number a bit. Aside from a pair of starts in which he surrendered a total of 14 earned runs, Dickey has compiled a 3.09 ERA. He submitted a quality start against San Francisco on Tuesday, when he held the Giants to two runs in six frames and tallied 10 whiffs.
"I felt like I grew into the outing," Dickey said. "Early on, I was feeling for it a little bit. As I got into the later innings, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, I felt a lot better with it and felt like I had a pretty good knuckleball today. I was getting a lot of swings and misses. I was in the strike zone for the most part outside of those two walks. Was pretty pleased."
The Yankees will counter with southpaw CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.19 ERA). The 32-year-old beat the Blue Jays on April 27, when he tossed eight innings, limiting Toronto to four runs (three earned).
Blue Jays: Johnson begins path to recovery
Out since April 21 with a right triceps injury, Josh Johnson is slated to make his first rehab start for Class A Dunedin on Monday. Manager John Gibbons projected that Johnson would need at least three rehab starts.
"It's like Spring Training almost all over again," Gibbons said. "Not quite as bad."
Yankees: Club brings in Brignac
The Yankees acquired infielder Reid Brignac from the Rockies. They plan to use him in a platoon at shortstop with Jayson Nix and at third base with David Adams.
"He plays second, short and third," Cashman said. "Fly-ball hitter, so we'll see if we can take advantage of a left-handed bat with Yankee Stadium here. He's a very good fielder, more so than a bat. He gives us a little bit better of a platoon situation because all the left side infield bats are right-handed."
• The Yankees are 8-1 against the Blue Jays this season and have won nine straight games against Toronto in the Bronx dating back to last season.
• New York is 18-0 when scoring first, an American League record to begin a season.
• Toronto announced Chad Jenkins and Ramon Ortiz as its starting pitchers for Monday and Tuesday, respectively.