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Aceves excited for first start

Aceves excited for first start

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ANAHEIM -- Alfredo Aceves was among the busiest men in the Yankees clubhouse early on Monday, dashing from corner to corner as he filed his all-important ticket requests at the Angel Stadium box office.

"Veinte siete," Aceves said in Spanish, counting off 27 passes to Tuesday's game for family and friends.

After a meandering six-year career in the Mexican League, the 25-year-old Aceves will finally make his Major League starting debut as the Yankees play the second game of a three-game series with the Angels in Anaheim.

"I'm excited because this is the first time that I'm going to start in the big leagues," Aceves said. "They're going to see me pitch. My parents, cousins, friends. It's another challenge for me. I compete by myself, I don't compete with anybody. I'm going to do my best."

During his career in Mexico from 2002-07, Aceves said he often wondered what it would be like to make it to the big leagues, though his primary goal was to eventually pitch in the United States.

He accomplished that and more this year, rocketing through the Yankees' system after beginning the year at Class A Tampa.

"I always had that question of how hard it is to play there," Aceves said. "I wanted to play and see how it is. Now that I'm here, I'm not thinking like that.

"I'm thinking about how I'm going to pitch -- my plan. Now there's nine hitters that are good, not just one or two. You have to be focused all game."

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound right-hander from San Luis Rio, Mexico, got his feet wet with two relief appearances after being promoted from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 28, and his latest one -- a five-inning, one-run relief outing on Sept. 4 at Tropicana Field -- moved him into the rotation, replacing the ineffective Darrell Rasner.

It's a job the Yankees would like to see Aceves grow into, less than one year after his rights were purchased from Monterrey of the Mexican League in a $450,000 transaction. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he is excited to see Aceves pitch, setting the tone for events that could follow.

"I think we look at him as a rotation guy, and obviously he has a chance to show us something," Girardi said. "He's moved very quickly, starting in A-ball. He's got a chance to pitch in meaningful baseball which is important, and I think it's important to his development."

Featuring a 93-mph fastball, sinker, cutter, changeup and curveball, Aceves posted 114 strikeouts in 140 2/3 Minor League innings, with just 27 walks. Opponents combined to hit .216 off him, and though his numbers at the Triple-A level weren't quite as glossy as those at the lower levels, Aceves has shown an early ability to get Major League hitters out as well.

The Yankees may be looking to see what they have, but Aceves said he does not feel any pressure as the spotlight draws near.

"I'm not trying to show anybody," Aceves said. "I just want to play, make my plan and focus. I want to enjoy my time. This is a game. I'm not going to be frustrated. It's a game, so let's have fun. It's baseball."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Alfredo Aceves (0-0, 1.29 ERA)
Aceves will make his first big league start on Tuesday, taking over for Rasner, who was moved to long relief. Aceves was a fast mover through the Yankees' system after being signed out of the Mexican League. Promoted to the big leagues on Aug. 28, Aceves was 8-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 25 games (23 starts) at Class A Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

LAA: RHP Ervin Santana (15-5, 3.23 ERA)
Santana's remarkable run of high-caliber work continued with a dominant effort in Detroit on Thursday, marred only by a one-out homer in the eighth inning by Curtis Granderson on the last pitch he threw. With eight strikeouts and one walk, Santana now has a 79-12 K/BB ratio over his past 10 starts. Santana seems to be getting stronger as the season wears on, keeping his fastball in the 94-96 mph range while complementing it with a wicked slider and changeup. Santana is 5-1 with a 4.72 ERA in six career outings against the Yankees.

Tidbits
Girardi said that the Yankees have considered the possibility that Hideki Matsui could see time at first base next Spring Training. Johnny Damon has also volunteered for consideration at the position. ... The Yankees have lost 13 of their last 17 games at Angel Stadium ... Derek Jeter is tied with Babe Ruth for second place on the Yankees' all-time with 2,518 hits. Only Lou Gehrig (2,721) has more. ... Jeter also has 1,000 career RBIs. ... Mariano Rivera owns a 0.48 ERA in save opportunities this year (37 2/3 innings, two earned runs).

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

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

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, WNSW 1430 (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 13-12, 4.49) at Angels (TBD), 3:35 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Yankees (TBD) vs. Rays (James Shields, 12-8, 3.64), 7:05 p.m. ET

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

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