Rangers not overlooking Yankees

Rangers not overlooking Yankees

The Yankees are coming to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, and they are bringing the hottest hitter in baseball with them.

Former Ranger Alex Rodriguez is leading the Major Leagues with 14 home runs, 34 RBIs, 27 runs scored and an .882 slugging percentage. He is almost a lock to be named American League Player of the Month.

"Personally, it's pretty amazing what he's done," Rangers pitcher Kevin Millwood said. "It seems like no matter what he does, it's never going to be good enough until they win the World Series. But it seems like without him, they would be in big trouble."

Millwood pitches against the Yankees on Thursday. Kameron Loe gets the first shot at Rodriguez and the Yankees, pitching the opener of the three-game series on Tuesday.

The Yankees enter the series in last place in the American League East, and their pitching staff, racked by injuries, has a 5.02 team ERA. But Rangers manager Ron Washington said he doesn't look at the Yankees as a last-place team.

"You never view the Yankees as a last-place team," Washington said. "They've been there before. It's only April. You don't count the Yankees out until you get into September. If they're still struggling in September, then you can count them out. But not on May 1. They have too much pride and they'll figure out that pitching."

The Yankees swept six games from the Rangers at the Ballpark last year and won eight of 10 against them overall. Since the beginning of the 1998 season, the Rangers are 12-30 against the Yankees in Arlington.

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Philip Hughes (0-1, 8.31 ERA)
Hughes showed enough in his Major League debut to earn a second turn around the rotation, and the length of his stay depends on how quickly Mike Mussina can recover from a strained left hamstring to rejoin the big-league roster. Hughes had some jitters early against the Blue Jays on Thursday in New York, allowing four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.

TEX: RHP Kameron Loe (1-1, 5.21 ERA)
Loe is making his third start of the season after five relief appearances. He is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in his first two starts. He has a 2.79 ERA in four games, including one start, at home. Left-handed hitters are batting .316 off him, while right-handers are hitting .237. He is 1-3 with a 7.62 ERA in four games, including two starts, against the Yankees.

Player to watch
Jason Giambi has 32 home runs in 409 career at-bats against the Rangers. That's his most against any team. He has 16 home runs in 203 at-bats in Arlington, third most by an active opponent.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• Fox Sports Net

On radio
• 1080 KRLD AM, 1270 KFLC AM (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Yankees (LHP Andy Pettitte, 1-1, 3.00) at Rangers (RHP Robinson Tejeda, 3-1, 3.82), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Yankees (RHP Mike Mussina, 0-0, 9.00) at Rangers (RHP Kevin Millwood, 2-3, 5.88), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Friday: Blue Jays (RHP Tomo Ohka, 2-2, 5.02) at Rangers (RHP Brandon McCarthy, 1-4, 9.90), 7:05 p.m. CT

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.