Ponson to face former club in Rangers

Ponson set to face former club

NEW YORK -- Right-hander Sidney Ponson already faced a challenge as part of the Yankees' pitching staff.

In his 2008 New York debut, Ponson took the mound in the second game of Friday's split-site doubleheader against the Mets, hours after a 15-6 Yankees' loss.

But the righty rose to the occasion and blanked the Mets through six innings, giving up just five hits.

So manager Joe Girardi has confidence in his starter as he prepares for another test Wednesday night -- facing his former Rangers club.

After the Yankees dropped their third straight game Tuesday night, Ponson will look to put them back on the winning track before the Red Sox come to town for a four-game series.

The Rangers designated Ponson for assignment on June 6 because of off-the-field incidents, but Girardi doesn't think it will affect the pitcher's performance.

"As far as facing an old team, Sidney's been around, so Sidney's had to go through this before," Girardi said. "He's had to face other teams that he's been on, so I'm not really worried about that."

Since his debut in 1998 with the Orioles, Ponson has played for six different Major League clubs.

In his nine starts for the Rangers this season, the right-hander delivered solid performances to earn a 4-1 record and a 3.88 ERA. And Texas manager Ron Washington said he knows what to expect from his former player and what the Rangers are up against.

"It's not going to be strange; I've seen Ponson pitch before," Washington said. "The Yankees needed pitching and they picked him up. We never said he couldn't pitch. I hope he does well, except for [Wednesday]."

After his previous start Friday night, Ponson said he would treat every game the same way, no matter what opposing team stood across the plate. His job is still to throw strikes, and Girardi has no reservations about Ponson taking the mound Wednesday.

"Guys know how to keep their emotions in check," Girardi said. "I think Sidney's been around long enough to understand what he has to do to win a game."

NYY: RHP Sidney Ponson (5-1, 3.50 ERA)
The Yankees would have little reason to not keep Ponson in the rotation after the right-hander hurled six innings of scoreless five-hit ball against the Mets on Friday at Shea Stadium. Ponson walked four and struck out four in the outing.

TEX: RHP Luis Mendoza (1-2, 5.40 ERA)
Since returning from the disabled list on June 20, Mendoza has done everything asked of him out of the bullpen and then some. In his last three appearances, he's thrown eight innings of shutout baseball. He earned a save in his first outing and a victory in the second. His last time out, he retired three of the four Phillies batters he faced. Since coming off the DL, Mendoza has six strikeouts compared to four hits allowed and no walks. Wednesday will mark Mendoza's first start against the Yankees and the Rangers' final regular-season game at Yankee Stadium.

Tidbits
Girardi said Hideki Matsui will likely take batting practice either Thursday or Friday. He is optimistic that Matsui will not need surgery, but will watch him closely once he resumes baseball activities. ... Second baseman Robinson Cano has recorded at least one RBI in eight of his past 10 games. ... With an 0-for-4 performance Tuesday night, Melky Cabrera extended his career-long hitless streak to 19 at-bats.

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Up next
• Thursday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 9-5, 3.98) vs. Red Sox (Jon Lester, 6-3, 3.48), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Friday: Yankees (Darrell Rasner, 4-6, 4.42) vs. Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 7-5, 3.65), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Yankees (Mike Mussina, 10-6, 3.87) vs. Red Sox (Justin Masterson, 4-2, 3.75), 3:55 p.m. ET

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