Ponson making quite an impression

Ponson making quite an impression

TORONTO -- When Sidney Ponson takes the mound on Thursday, in the series finale with the Blue Jays, he will be doing so for the 10th time this year as a Yankee.

The right-hander signed with New York in June, and though he has not yet been with the club for a full two months, it has been long enough to leave an impression with manager Joe Girardi.

"He's throwing the ball really well for us," Girardi said. "I love the way he attacks the zone. I love the way he goes after hitters. He works fast, keeps everyone involved, he's going to mix in his breaking balls, and I think he's done, as the season has went on with us, a better job of mixing in all his stuff."

Since signing with the Yankees this year -- for his second tenure with the club, the first coming in 2006 -- Ponson has been a serviceable option in the rotation, going 3-2 with a 4.50 ERA across his nine starts.

However, over his last four starts in particular, he has been much more effective, posting a 2.96 ERA. During that stretch, he has allowed just 22 hits over 27 1/3 innings for an opponent's average of .227.

What has also impressed Girardi about the 31-year-old Ponson is that he has been able to alter his pitching style since his last go-round with New York.

"He's changed as he's matured," said Girardi. "He wasn't a sinkerballer when I first saw him. He was a hard-thrower. But he's changed, and he's developed his trade."

On Thursday, Ponson will look to defeat Toronto in the rubber match of the three-game set. New York dropped the first game of the series before storming back with a 5-1 win on Wednesday.

Throughout his career, Ponson has fared well at the home of the Blue Jays, going 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA over eight starts at Rogers Centre.

The Yankees will have their work cut out for them, though, as the Jays will counter with their ace, Roy Halladay. The right-hander, who notched a complete-game shutout against New York last month, is someone with whom the Yankees are very familiar.

"You know what you're getting when you get Halladay," Girardi said. "You're getting one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. You've got to find a way to beat him and keep it close. Doc doesn't like to hand the ball to anyone else, either. He wants to go nine [innings] every time he goes out there."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Sidney Ponson (7-3, 4.19 ERA)
Ponson is 7-10 with a 4.59 ERA in his career against the Blue Jays. Six of his 18 career starts against Toronto have been complete games.

TOR: RHP Roy Halladay (14-9, 2.64 ERA)
Halladay is 12-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 29 career games against the Yankees.

Tidbits
Joba Chamberlain, who has been sidelined since Aug. 6 with tendinitis in his right rotator cuff, will throw to a catcher on flat ground on Thursday. He will then rest on Friday before throwing in a bullpen session on Saturday. Beyond that, Girardi said, the Yankees have yet to decide on a further throwing schedule for the right-hander. "We're just taking it day by day," Girardi said. ... With his fourth-inning homer on Wednesday, shortstop Derek Jeter passed Bill Dickey and tied Roger Maris for 11th place on the Yankees' all-time home run list. Jeter now has 203 career home runs, and he is also two hits shy of 2,500 for his career. ... Center fielder Johnny Damon has hit .329 (24-for-73) in his career against Halladay.

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

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, WNSW 1430 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Yankees (Mike Mussina, 16-7, 3.35) at Orioles (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Yankees (TBD) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 10-9, 3.15), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Yankees (Darrell Rasner, 5-9, 4.93) at Orioles (Daniel Cabrera, 8-8, 4.98), 1:35 p.m. ET

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