Interleague won't dim Yanks' focus

Interleague won't dim Yanks' focus

NEW YORK -- What could spoil this feel-good homestand for the Yankees, where pies have been thrown and light-hearted fines have been levied in kangaroo court for the first time since the Buck Showalter era?

The answer, Robinson Cano hopes, is not a visit from the defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies. Riding high on a nine-game win streak, the Yankees will welcome in Charlie Manuel's crew on Friday for a weekend series as Interleague Play kicks off at the new Yankee Stadium.

"I would say we're going to look at it as though we were facing any team in the American League," Cano said. "We're going to go out there and play our game. They were the champions, but that was last year. This is a new year."

Cano has plenty of reasons to feel confident. The New York second baseman has hit a strong note going into play against the Fightin's, having recorded his second successive three-hit game on Thursday, reaching the right-field seats on back-to-back nights.

Cano has six RBIs in his past two games entering play on Friday, compared to four RBIs over his previous 22 games. And he hasn't been alone in that success.

"I feel great at the plate," Cano said. "I've been doing the same things that I've been doing. I think we're doing the things in big spots, like getting men on base, moving runners over, and our pitchers are pitching great.

"I've been swinging good, and I feel good at the plate. I went through a little slump, but right now I feel the same way. I've been getting hits."

The curious Phillies will follow the Twins and Orioles in checking out Yankee Stadium for the first time, and New York can only hope that Philadelphia tries to beat the same hasty retreat that its predecessors did.

History is on the side of that -- the Yankees last played the Phillies in 2000 across the street at the old Yankee Stadium, winning two of three. They swept the '98 Phils in a three-game set across 161st Street, going 10-8 overall in the rematch of the 1950 World Series.

The Yankees lead the Majors in all-time Interleague winning percentage (.586, 123-87), and you can count Cano among those who wouldn't trade this weekend's locale for any other around the circuit.

"It's a nice one," Cano said. "I would say anyone would like to hit in this ballpark. You see the ball good, and I would say it's the best one in the big leagues."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP A.J. Burnett (2-1, 5.02 ERA)
After winning his first two outings with the Yankees, Burnett has not won a game in six starts for the first time in a season since 2005, when he lost seven straight for the Marlins. During the six-game stretch, Burnett has recorded five no-decisions. Despite not winning, he has pitched well of late. Burnett allowed just two runs in 6 2/3 innings to the Twins in his last start, on Sunday.

PHI: RHP Brett Myers (3-2, 4.50 ERA)
The proven workhorse gave the Phillies' staff exactly the boost it needed in a start last Saturday -- seven quality innings. No, scratch that. Seven outstanding innings in which he allowed three hits -- albeit two of them homers -- and struck out eight in an 8-5 victory over the Nationals. In the second game of a four-game set, Myers was in control and got stronger as the game progressed, striking out four in his final two innings.

Tidbits
Johnny Damon is listed as day-to-day with a tweaked back after crashing into the left-field fence on Wednesday. ... Derek Jeter has 280 hits in Interleague Play, most in Major League history. Jeter is also the Majors' Interleague leader with 836 at-bats and 156 runs, and he's sixth all-time with a .335 Interleague batting average (minimum 300 at-bats). ... Burnett is 13-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 26 career Interleague starts, including 4-1 last year, as a member of the Blue Jays. ... The Yankees have scored in the first inning in each of their past four games, outscoring their opponents, 13-3, in the first over the four-game stretch, which dates to Monday. ... Melky Cabrera has hit safely in 25 of his past 28 starts, batting .330 (36-for-109) with five homers, 18 RBIs and nine walks in his starts since April 13.

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, 92.7 WQBU (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 4-1, 4.18) vs. Phillies (J.A. Happ, 2-0, 2.49), 4:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Yankees (CC Sabathia, 4-3, 3.43) vs. Phillies (Cole Hamels, 2-2, 4.95), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Yankees (Phil Hughes, 2-2, 7.06) at Rangers (Matt Harrison, 4-3, 4.71), 2:05 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.