Notes: Wilson in a better place

Notes: Wilson in a better place

NEW YORK -- Even before seeing the Yankee Stadium field for the first time in his career, Craig Wilson knew he was in a better place.

On Monday, Wilson came from the Pirates, who sit in last place in the National League Central at 40-67, to the Yankees, who at 62-41 are in a virtual tie with the Red Sox in the American League East.

"It's kind of like going from the worst team to one of the best," Wilson said. "Five-and-a-half years in Pittsburgh, most of the time, from the All-Star break we were either in last place or second to last place. It's exciting to actually play games in the second half that are meaningful to play beyond the season."

Wilson wasn't in Tuesday's lineup with Toronto's A.J. Burnett on the hill, but he will start on Wednesday against lefty Ted Lilly. Hitting left-handers is a major reason why the Yankees acquired Wilson. He's hitting .307 against left-handers this season and has a .302 average against them in his career. Wilson is batting .267 with 13 homers and 41 RBIs overall this season.

"I wouldn't say I feel more comfortable, it's just somehow the numbers are better against left-handers," Wilson said. "I don't know how to explain it. It just seems like I've hit them a lot better than right-handers."

Andy Phillips, who was getting much of the time at first base, is hitting .186 against lefties this season. He also has been slumping of late. After leading the Yankees with a .333 June batting average, he hit .161 in July.

While neither were in Tuesday's lineup, for now it looks like Wilson will get the nod at first with a lefty on the mound, and possibly for more than that. Manager Joe Torre said he didn't know much about Wilson's fielding capabilities and said he wants to get a look before making any more permanent plans.

"My view on this is the same it was the first day I left Spring Training," Phillips said. "I want to contribute any way that I can and any way they ask me to. That doesn't change whether I'm playing every day or not."

Wilson can also play right field and will also serves as the Yankees' third catcher.

"Pretty much, I'll do anything they want me to do," Wilson said.

Back to back-up: The Yankees have been a different team during the past few months, with Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui out. There were new faces with lower salaries and their own scrappiness.

With the acquisition of Bobby Abreu, Cory Lidle and Wilson, that Yankee team will be a thing of the past.

T.J. Beam and Aaron Guiel were sent back to Triple-A Columbus. Sidney Ponson was moved to the bullpen for long relief. Bubba Crosby and Bernie Williams, who have seen more playing time this season, will go back to their usual roles as reserves.

"Right now, when you've been looking to do something, [the role players] have been in the lineup," Torre said. "It's going to help when you get in those close games late in the game and you pinch-run for those guys and not weakening yourself a great deal when you put them in."

Torre said he's proud of the fact that, even with the injuries, tare in the thick of the playoff race. But he added that it would have been a "disservice to everybody connected with this club, including the fans, if you don't [improve the club]."

Williams said he's fine with trades and his now lessened role since that is what he expected this season.

Ponson asked his agent to tell the Yankees that he wanted to stay on with the Yankees no matter what his role would be. He wanted to be a part of the playoff run, something he didn't really experience during eight years in Baltimore.

"It's not disappointing at all," Ponson said. "When they traded for Cory, I knew I was going to be in the bullpen or they were going to release me. I'm just happy to be a part of the Yankees."

Smelling good: Derek Jeter now has his own cologne, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. Avon Products signed Jeter to a men's fragrance called Driven, "reflecting the unique personality of one of the most driven men in America," according to a news release from Avon.

The fragrance will go on sale in November and is a blend of chilled grapefruit, clean oak moss and spice.

Lights out: The Yankees decreased power usage through Yankee Stadium for Tuesday's game and for as long as the current weather stays scorching hot in an effort to assist New York City in reducing energy consumption.

The left-field out-of-town scoreboard ran periodically and the center field Diamondvision screen was used sparingly throughout the game. The concourse and concession televisions were not turned on. Rehab wrap: Robinson Cano has run the bases. Now, he'll play in his first game. Cano is scheduled to be the designated hitter on Thursday for Class A Tampa. Torre and general manager Brian Cashman don't expect him to return until the Yankees face the White Sox, beginning Aug. 8, at the earliest.

Octavio Dotel threw one rehab inning on Tuesday in the Gulf Coast League, throwing 10 pitches with two strikeouts while hitting 94 mph on his fastball. He's not throwing any sliders because, as Cashman said, the Yankees want this to be his last rehab stint.

Up next: The Yankees will take on Toronto on Wednesday in the second game of the three-game series, with Chien-Ming Wang taking on Led Lilly. Game time is 7:05 p.m. ET.

Ryan Mink is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.