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Game 115: Yankees at Rangers

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YANKEES (62-52)
Damon CF
Jeter DH
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Cano 2B
Betemit SS
Molina C
Mussina RHP

Mike Mussina (14-7, 3.44) vs. the Texas hitters. [2]

Scott Feldman (4-4, 4.97) vs. the New York hitters. [3]

Notes: The Yankees need a win to split the four-game series. … Red Sox are idle today. The Rays are at the Mariners later on tonight. … Damon is 5 of 13 in the series with three runs scored. … A-Rod is 0 for 10 in the series with 3 GIDPs. … Molina is 4 for 9 since Pudge Rodriguez came aboard.

SO IT SEEMS MELKY HAS BEEN BEEN FIRED: Hmm, very interesting. That’s four days in a row out of the lineup for the Melkman. Guess he’s not getting a rest after all. That’s what being an out machine for three months will do.

THE MOOSE VS. TEXAS: Mussina is 6-4, 3.94 at Rangers Ballpark. He is 17-13, 3.74 in his career against the Rangers. … Frank Catalanotto is 26 of 59 with 10 extra-base hits against Mussina. Think he might be in the lineup?

MILESTONE MOOSE: Mussina needs 4.1 innings to reach 3,500 for his career. He would be the 70th pitcher in history to reach that mark, the fifth active player. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson and (of course) Jamie Moyer are the others. … Moose has 264 wins. A victory tonight would tie him with Jim McCormick for 37th place all-time.

ROUGHED-UP RANGERS: David Murphy strained a ligament in that collision with Pudge Rodriguez yesterday and went on the DL. The Rangers are also likely without Milton Bradley, who has a hamstring pull.

HUGHES TV: Want to watch the Franchise chuck it for Scranton? I’m told MLB.TV will have the game. Follow this link. [4]

Back later with updates.

UPDATE, 6:38 p.m.: OK, here is what we have:

Pudge: Feeling better, hopes to catch tomorrow.

Joba: On his way to Tampa to because that’s where the trainers are.

Melky: The plan is to play him tomorrow. But Girardi said the complexion of the team changed when Nady was acquired and he has to put the best lineup he can out there. Girardi also said Damon looks good in CF.

ANDY PETTITTE UPDATE, 6:46 p.m.: The Daily News reported that Andy Pettitte could miss his start on Sunday with some manner of arm injury.

“News to me,” Joe Girardi said.

Pettitte also said he would make his start and that he felt fine. I watched him play catch in the outfield before we spoke to Girardi and he looked OK to me.

UPDATE, 7:00 p.m.: Here is the latest from Florida via the AP:

New York Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui began a running program Thursday for his sore left knee.

After hitting 10 home runs on 58 pitches during his second consecutive day of batting practice on the field, Matsui ran about 90 feet six times in the outfield.

“I was able to run and I didn’t have any problems after that,” he said through a translator. “So, in that sense, I’m pretty satisfied.”

Matsui will face a big test on Friday—seeing how the knee reacts. The designated hitter and part-time left fielder had his rehab program shut down last month when the knee swelled even more after two days of batting practice.

“We did something new today, so it will be interesting how the knee responds,” Matsui said. “If I don’t have any problems, then I think that’s going to be a big step forward.”

Matsui opted against having surgery last month with the hope of rejoining the Yankees this season.

“I think it was a very good day,” he said.

Also, right-hander Victor Zambrano allowed a broken-bat single over four scoreless innings in his first start for the Gulf Coast League Yankees. The former major league pitcher, recently signed to a minor league contract, struck out three and walked one.

Another former big leaguer signed by the Yankees to a minor league contract, Eric Milton, threw off a bullpen mound and is expected to pitch in minor league games later this month. The left-hander is coming off elbow ligament replacement surgery in June 2007.

UPDATE, 7:35 p.m.: Tony Pena will coach third tonight. Bobby Meacham will miss two games to attend the wedding of his daughter in Colorado. Ally Meacham, a former backup dancer for Rihanna, is marrying NBA player Maurice Evans.

UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: Phil Hughes is finished in Scranton. 4.2 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts. 68 pitches, 40 strikes and he was sitting 93-95 with his fastball and had good movement.

68 pitches means Hughes can get around 85 his next time out. That would line him up for a MLB game if needed.

Carl Pavano is also finished in Trenton. 3.2 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 2 wild pitches.

UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.: Nice series for A-Rod, 0 for 12 with four GIDPs and two strikeouts.

UPDATE, 9:13 p.m.: Marlon Byrd is 7 of 13 with six runs scored and four RBI in this series.

UPDATE, 10:01 p.m.: How are the Yankees 2-4 against this team again? Meanwhile, the Moose is putting on a clinic of how to pitch out of trouble. Texas has eight hits and a walk over six innings and hasn’t scored.

UPDATE, 10:27 p.m.: Telling that Texas would choose to face A-Rod with first base open and intentionally walk Giambi. A-Rod was 0 for 14 in the series.

Brian Bruney with a 2-0 lead against the top of the order? Interesting.

UPDATE, 10:37 p.m.: The addition of Marte really changes the way Girardi can use the bullpen. Marte seems best suited for situational work, at least based on what we have seen so far.

UPDATE, 10:52 p.m.: Another briliant play by Jeter. By making the final out of the inning after the RBI single, he allows Mo to get the save. What leadership!