Yankees hope for length from Mussina

Yankees hope for length from Mussina

Mike Mussina has handled the Rangers' young lineup well in his career, holding All-Star-caliber players to paltry batting averages.

The Rangers' Nos. 3 and 5 hitters on Tuesday, Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock, have batted .136 and .161 off Mussina in their respective careers -- not to mention that they've combined for just two extra-base hits off the right-hander. Mussina will look to continue his dominance on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Mussina is coming off a start against the Rangers in which he pitched his best game of the season, throwing five innings and giving up one run. This will be Mussina's fourth start this year after missing most of April when he injured a hamstring while pitching against the Twins on April 11.

Mussina threw 64 pitches in last week's start against the Rangers -- his first off the disabled list -- 49 of which were strikes. Manager Joe Torre said that Mussina's pitch count will be higher in his start on Wednesday, and he noted the right-hander's precision against the Rangers his last time out.

"This game is all about control," Torre said. "If he was that sharp the first time out, I don't expect to see him take a step backward."

Texas will send Robinson Tejeda to the mound for a second chance against the Yankees this season. He took the loss in his first shot at the Bombers, despite giving up three runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Mike Mussina (1-1, 5.73 ERA)
Yankees fans finally saw the Mussina they're used to in his last start against the Rangers, when he pitched five innings and only allowed one run. It was the first time Mussina had pitched since a game against the Twins on April 11, when Torre had to replace the right-hander after just two innings because of a hamstring injury. Mussina got the win in his return start, giving up four hits and striking out three. He was 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Rangers last season.

TEX: RHP Robinson Tejeda (3-2, 3.89 ERA)
Tejeda would have started on Tuesday, but the Rangers gave him a day off because of some concern with his left hamstring. Tejeda lost to the Yankees last Thursday when the Yankees were in Texas, giving up three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He is 0-2 with an 8.68 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees.

Player to watch
Not many current Rangers have hit Mussina well. Center fielder Kenny Lofton may have the most success against the right-hander, batting .265 off him with two home runs and six RBIs in 49 career at-bats.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS-AM 880 AM, WQBU-FM 92.7 FM (Espanol)

Up next
• Thursday: Rangers (RHP Brandon McCarthy, 2-4, 7.96) at Yankees (RHP Chien-Ming Wang, 1-2, 3.98), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Yankees (RHP Darrell Rasner, 1-1, 2.75) at Mariners (LHP Jarrod Washburn, 2-3, 3.18), 10:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Yankees (RHP Matt DeSalvo, 0-0, 1.29) at Mariners (RHP Miguel Batista, 3-2, 5.70), 10:05 p.m. ET

Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.