Kennedy seeks revenge vs. Rays

Kennedy seeks revenge vs. Rays

BOSTON -- Think Joe Girardi isn't second-guessing himself over Saturday's decision to pitch to Manny Ramirez with first base open? The Yankees manager is still kicking around a floppy curveball he flashed for Mike Stanton ... in the late 1990s.

"I can remember it like it was yesterday," Girardi said. "That's my personality. I mull over things."

The Yankees may have left Boston behind, boarding a red-eye charter flight and continuing their April travels with a trip back to the area of their Spring Training stomping grounds, but Girardi will certainly be carrying some of the baggage of his first Red Sox-Yankees series as a manager on board.

The first-year Yankees skipper said he's had better nights of sleep than he did on Saturday, flashing around Mike Mussina's fastball that Ramirez ripped up the gap in right-center field. But Girardi's goal is to not allow that to affect his decision-making at Tropicana Field, or back in New York.

"You think about it when you go home a little bit and you just move forward," Girardi said. "That's the great thing about baseball, that you've got another day to worry about. Every day there will be some decisions that you have to make. You live with it, you move on, and you think about today's game.

"You use the information that you have. As a catcher, you have a lot of information in your head. As a manager, you have a lot of information in your head. You make what you feel is the best decision at that time."

The Yankees renew acquaintances with the Rays on Monday, and for the rain-drenched Bombers, seeing a bit of Florida sunshine -- even if it is only outside the domed stadium -- will be a nice change of pace after wet visits to Kansas City and Boston.

Right-hander Ian Kennedy will have a second chance to show what he can do against Tampa Bay's lineup after the Rays punished him for six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings on April 4 at Yankee Stadium. It will be his third career start against the Rays, against whom he is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA.

Kennedy's last appearance was actually his first Major League relief outing, as he was scratched on Wednesday at Kansas City due to threatening storms in the area, but Girardi said that Kennedy showcased his big league repertoire in the ninth inning of a three-inning, two-run effort against the Royals.

"The last inning was the best inning," Girardi said. "He kind of had the look in his eye that, 'I've got it.' It looked like it came back to him, and only time will tell. We felt good about him coming off the mound in Kansas City."

At 23 years old, Kennedy joins fellow Yankee Phil Hughes (21) as the first pair of Yankees starters under the age of 24 prior to September callups since the August 1992 rotation featured Sam Militello (22) and Bob Wickman (23).

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Ian Kennedy (0-1, 13.50 ERA)
Kennedy has allowed eight earned runs in his first 5 1/3 innings of 2008 after allowing just 31 in 146 2/3 professional frames last season, including pitching 19 innings at the Major League level and recording a 1.89 ERA with New York. The Rays battered Kennedy for six runs on four hits in an abbreviated 2 1/3-inning start on April 4 at Yankee Stadium.

TB: RHP Andy Sonnanstine (1-1, 6.00 ERA)
Coming off his first loss of the season to Seattle on Wednesday, Sonnanstine will face the Yankees for the second time this season. The right-hander had a solid debut in New York on April 4, going six solid innings and scattering six hits and four runs. Sonnanstine gave up all four runs in the third inning, but settled down to retire the last 10 Yankees batters in order.

Derek Jeter is expected to return to the Yankees' lineup on Monday after missing six games with a strained left quadriceps. Jeter is 4-for-10 (.400) with a double, triple and home run lifetime against Sonnanstine. ... Hideki Matsui is 3-for-8 (.375) with two home runs against Sonnanstine. ... Kennedy is one of three 2006 first-round Draft selections currently in the big leagues. The others are Andrew Miller of the Marlins and Tim Lincecum of the Giants.

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Up next
• Tuesday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 1-1, 3.09) at Rays (Edwin Jackson, 2-0, 0.64), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 3-0, 1.23) vs. Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, 0-1, 3.27), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Yankees (Mike Mussina, 1-2, 4.15) vs. Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 1-1, 6.35), 7:05 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.