First Pitch: Interleague set to begin

April, 15, 2013
4/15/13
6:00
AM ET
Being asked about an upcoming interleague series in April caught Brett Gardner by surprise following the Yankees' 3-0 win over the Orioles Sunday night.

"Oh really?" Gardner said of the Yankees series against Arizona that begins Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. "I didn't even know that."

It's going to be a culture shock for fans and players alike this season as the new interleague schedule sprouts up for teams every week. Houston's move to the AL has caused MLB's schedule to include interleague play during every week of the year.

"It's a little bit different but it's something we'll be ready for," Gardner said. "The good things is our pitchers don't have to hit and they don't
have to be ready for that yet. Looking forward to it."

Normally, the Yankees would begin their interleague play in May, getting in one series, before the interleague schedule beefed up in July. Fans knew when to expect those battles, as the majority of them were during that stretch in June.

This series against Arizona begins the first of eight interleague series the Yankees have this year. They also host San Francisco, visit San Diego and Colorado, and have home-and-home series with the Dodgers and Mets.

While it's still going to be unique seeing the Yankees battle a National League squad in April, one Yankee said the new interleague setup might not as resonate as much this week because the Yankees are the home team.

"I think it's not as weird because we got the DH," Yankees outfielder Lyle Overbay said. "I think when we have to go somewhere and the pitcher has to hit, that will be different. It is weird to see every series there's interleague play."

UP NOW: Andrew Marchand wrote about Kuroda's brilliant outing. I touched on Brett Gardner's home run and the bottom of the lineup delivering. There was also news about Andy Pettitte being pushed back and Curtis Granderson's rehab.

UP NEXT: The Yankees have an off day before facing Arizona. Andrew Marchand will have you covered on the blog. When the Yankees return Tuesday, Ivan Nova (0-1, 7.71 ERA) will look to bounce back from a rough first start as he takes on Brandon McCarthy (0-1, 7.71 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.

QUESTION:
Do you like the new interleague schedule? Please let us know in the comments section below, and, as always, thanks for reading.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.283 6 41 44
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 47
RB. Gardner 54
OPSM. Teixeira .794
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135