First Pitch: Phelps' Homecoming

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
7:00
AM ET


David Phelps' parents needed 11 tickets. His best friend and his wife needed a handful more. All in all, Phelps will have about 25-30 friends and family at his first start of his major league career in Kansas City tonight.

It is taking place just down I-70, a mere 3½ hours from Phelps' hometown of St. Louis.

"Fortunately, tickets in Kansas City aren't quite as expensive as here," Phelps said. "So they have already gone ahead and got them. They said they didn't have any problems. It is a lot easier that way."

Phelps, 25, has made it look relatively easy so far as a major leaguer. In 17 2/3 innings as a long man, he has a 3.57 ERA. He has allowed 12 hits, four of which have been homers.

Phelps, who grew up an Albert Pujols Cardinals fan, is savoring the opportunity, while not losing sight of what got him to this point.

"Anytime you are getting a chance to start on this team it is a big deal," Phelps said. "My mindset going to into games has been get quick outs and save the bullpen as much as possible. I'm going to take that into the start as much as possible and try to get as deep in the game and go from there."

As we wrote the other night, if Phelps is lights out, how do you not give him a start over Phil Hughes on the next turn around? So that is what Phelps is pitching for in Kansas City. A chance to make himself a fixture in the rotation. He will have plenty of support. That is for sure.

UP NOW: My column on the Yankees' lack of hitting; especially at 3-4-5. I think that Curtis Granderson should move into one of those spots. Kieran Darcy's story on Eric Chavez' latest injury, a strange one to watch. Darcy also writes about Ivan Nova's decision streak ending.

ON DECK: Tonight, Phelps(0-0, 3.57 ERA) vs. Danny Duffy (1-2, 3.63). On Friday, CC Sabathia (3-0, 4.58) vs. Bruce Chen (0-3, 4.23). On Saturday, Hiroki Kuroda (2-3, 3.69) vs. Felipe Paulino (4-10, 4.46 ERA). On Sunday, Hughes (1-4, 7.48) vs. Luke Hochevar (2-2, 7.36).

IN THE HOLE: Eduardo Nunez will be in left against the two lefties on Thursday and Friday, according to Joe Girardi. The Yankees will probably have a roster move with Chavez, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner all still out. We will be on the blog all day. The great Wally Matthews is in Kansas City.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Would you play Nunez in the outfield?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.365 0 6 9
OTHER LEADERS
HRC. Beltran 4
RBIC. Beltran 9
RA. Soriano 10
OPSY. Solarte .957
WI. Nova 2
ERAM. Pineda 1.00
SOM. Tanaka 28

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