video thumbnail

TOR@NYY: Phelps fans nine in four frames to earn win

The Yankees put another key player on the disabled list on Tuesday afternoon, but somehow, they're still not showing any signs of slowing down.

New York bounced back from an ugly loss on Monday night with a 7-4 win over Houston on Tuesday, and the Yankees will go for a series victory on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium behind David Phelps, who's filling in for injured right-hander Ivan Nova.

"There's not a whole lot I can do about it, in a sense -- I can't really worry about it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Tuesday after the club placed Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day DL with a lumbar spine sprain. "You have to go put a lineup up today and just concentrate on the game today. That's what I try to do."

It's worked so far for Girardi, as the Yankees are 16-10 on the year despite playing without Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and now Francisco Cervelli, Nova and Youkilis -- not to mention the key contributors they lost over the offseason.

Of course, strong starting pitching can cure a lot of ills, as Hiroki Kuroda showed on Tuesday with seven scoreless innings. Phelps will try to replicate Kuroda's success in his first start of the season. He pitched well in relief of Nova on Friday night, allowing only one run over four innings and striking out a career-high nine batters.

"You look, and we've been fighting all year," Phelps said on Friday. "We've got a scrappy bunch, guys that have been around and have fought a lot of their careers. We're going to win games in a lot of different ways."

As the Astros wrap up their seven-game East Coast road trip, they could also use a strong starting performance from lefty Erik Bedard. After tossing 3 1/3 scoreless relief innings on Opening Day, Bedard hasn't pitched more than four innings in any of his four starts. As a starter, Bedard is 0-2 with a 10.32 ERA, having allowed 13 runs in 7 1/3 innings over his last three outings.

"The game of baseball starts and ends on the mound," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "When you look at the successful teams, they have good pitching and from good pitching, then you go to defense. The hitting part of it is probably the third aspect. To have stabilizing starts by your starter, it basically sets the tone for the whole ballclub."

Astros: Honing in on Draft options
• According to's Jonathan Mayo, the Astros are zeroing in on about a half-dozen candidates to select with the top overall pick in next month's First-Year Player Draft. That group includes Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray, Indiana State lefty Sean Manaea, San Diego third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant and Georgia high school outfielders Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows.

Once again, Houston has the largest pool of money to work with, as the club can spend up to $11,698,800 on picks in the top 10 rounds, an increase of $521,100 from 2012. Astros scouting director Mike Elias said the club will "take advantage of any opportunity to get the most bang for your buck."

• Porter said the Astros will announce Wednesday who will start Thursday's series opener against the Tigers.

Yankees: Joseph gets big league callup
• The Yankees called up 24-year-old infielder Corban Joseph to replace the injured Youkilis on the active roster. Joseph will be asked to fill a backup role in the Bronx, filling in at second base as well as first and third. He's played mostly second base with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"I'm going to give him a chance to play some," Girardi said. "He has to be prepared to play three of the four [infield] positions. I'll give him a chance to play.

• Elsewhere on the injury front, Granderson is still taking batting practice at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., and could begin Minor League rehab games soon. Meanwhile, Teixeira is still taking dry swings, as he's been doing for nearly two weeks, and he hasn't been cleared to do anything more. It would appear Teixeira won't be ready to rejoin the Yankees until early June, at the earliest.

Worth noting
• Porter said on Tuesday he'd like to give outfielder Brandon Barnes more playing time. Barnes entered Tuesday on a six-game hitting streak before going 0-for-3, but he's still batting 10-for-23 (.435) with a homer and five RBIs over his last eight games.

• David Robertson and Shawn Kelley combined to allow four runs in 1 2/3 innings on Tuesday, but the Yankees' bullpen had been on a roll before that. Over New York's previous eight games, the bullpen pitched to a 1.90 ERA -- allowing five earned runs in 23 2/3 innings -- while striking out 28 batters and walking only four. Comments