The New York Yankees are expected to be without Robinson Cano, but having Alfonso Soriano in the lineup might provide some solace.
Soriano looks to build on another big offensive display and help the Yankees continue their dominance of the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
Cano leads New York (70-62) with a .305 average, 24 homers and 85 RBIs, and he's batting .355 in 25 games this month. He's not expected to get a chance to build on those numbers until Friday's opener of a three-game series with Baltimore.
The All-Star second baseman was hit on the hand by a pitch in the first inning of Tuesday's 7-1 win, but x-rays were negative, and he's considered day to day.
"It's swollen right now, and the last thing you want to do is aggravate it," Cano said.
Soriano may soften the blow of Cano's absence again.
The 37-year-old left fielder hit a pair of homers with four RBIs Tuesday, helping New York rebound from a 5-2 defeat in the opener of this three-game set.
Of his 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 30 games since the Yankees re-acquired him in a trade with the Chicago Cubs last month, 10 and 28 have come in 16 victories. He's also collected five game-winning RBIs, one fewer than Cano.
"It was a great pickup for us," said Andy Pettitte, Tuesday's winning pitcher. "It's energizing when you have a special player like that come and be able to hit for that kind of power and be able to get out there and run around the bases. It's exciting.
"He looks like a young man out there, and I know he's not. Hopefully he can keep it going."
Doing so in the series finale could be just what New York needs to defeat Toronto (59-74) for the 14th time in 16 games this year and potentially cut the 4 1/2-game gap on Oakland for the AL's second wild-card spot.
Giving the ball to Hiroki Kuroda (11-9, 2.71 ERA), owner of the league's fourth-best ERA, should also help.
He's 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA over his last five starts against the Blue Jays, including wins in the most recent two this year. Kuroda also pitched well in his most recent visit to Toronto on April 20, allowing one run in 7 1-3 innings of New York's 5-3, 11-inning victory.
The right-hander, however, has a 6.27 ERA while losing three straight road starts, and he's coming off one of the worst performances in his career. Kuroda matched career highs by surrendering seven runs and four homers in six innings of Friday's 7-2 loss at Tampa Bay.
The Blue Jays are at the bottom of the East, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos said manager Josh Gibbons will be back next year.
"There's never been any thought in that respect at all," Anthopoulos said.
Gibbons will send Todd Redmond (1-2, 4.44) to the mound to make his first appearance against the Yankees. The 28-year-old rookie right-hander is trying to bounce back from the worst outing of his brief career after being tagged for eight runs and eight hits with three walks and a throwing error in 3 1-3 innings of a 12-4 loss at Houston on Friday.
Redmond is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 25 innings over five games - four starts - at Rogers Centre.
The Associated Press News Service
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