5/04/2008 09:45:00 PM

Rasner Lead's Yanks To First Sweep Of Season

Posted by Mark McCray |

Kit Stier/MLB.com:

Darrell Rasner, unbowed by all of the chatter of potential young aces like Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, knows he has been given a golden opportunity. The right-hander says he intends to do everything within his power not to let it slip away.

Rasner, called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before Sunday's game to take the place of the injured Hughes, pitched seven strong innings in his season debut to help the Yankees cruise to an 8-2 victory over the Mariners before a sun-warmed crowd of 53,542 at Yankee Stadium. Rasner took the roster spot previously held by Kennedy, who was sent to Triple-A to work on his game.

Rasner, who suffered a season-ending right finger injury when the Yankees gave him a chance last May, took the mound on Sunday and carried on the same way he'd been pitching in Scranton -- with much success. And he had a lot of help from a Yankees offense that raked Mariners pitching for 14 hits, including six in a six-run third inning that was New York's biggest single-inning outburst this season.

"I didn't put any extra thought into what went on," Rasner said when asked about how much stock the Yankees had invested in Hughes and Kennedy being successful this season. "I wanted to go out every day and pitch, and pitch well. I knew there would be an opportunity, because we used so many pitchers last year. I wanted to heal and be sharp and give myself that opportunity."

Rasner was successful because of something Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy had been unable to do recently-- throw strikes. I'm not exactly sure what Joe Girardi said at the beginning of Spring Training but it went something like this, "It is important for our pitchers to throw strikes. You have to put the ball in play to have a shot at getting an out. You can not give away free bases by walking batters." I happen to agree.


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