Friday, May 16, 2014
First Pitch: Welcome back, Ike
By Kieran Darcy
NEW YORK -- The Yankees open a three-game series against the Pirates on Friday. Pittsburgh has not played a game in the Bronx since 2007, but a few Pirates will be familiar with the surroundings.
First of all, Ike Davis, traded from the Mets to the Pirates back on April 18, will be making a homecoming of sorts this weekend at Yankee Stadium.
Davis was batting just .208 with one home run and five RBIs in 12 games this season, prior to the trade. But he has a much higher average with the Pirates, batting .286 in 22 games.
He hasn't rediscovered his power stroke yet, however. Davis has just one more homer and seven RBIs with Pittsburgh.
Ike Davis has just one homer since arriving from the Mets.
In 14 career Subway Series games against the Yankees, Davis hit .233 with one homer and eight RBIs. He stuck out 17 times in just 43 at-bats.
On the bright side, Davis is batting .349 thus far in the month of May, including 12 hits in his last 25 at-bats.
Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who played for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, is currently on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Chris Stewart, who was the Yankees' primary catcher in 2013, has played in 10 games for Pittsburgh this season, batting .235 with no home runs and one RBI.
Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who grew up in Washington Heights, is batting .215 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. Former Yankees outfield prospect Jose Tabata, who was traded to Pittsburgh back in 2008 as part of a package for outfielder Xavier Nady and reliever Damaso Marte, is batting .267 with no home runs and eight RBIs.
Reliever Mark Melancon, who also came up with the Yankees back in 2009, is currently serving as the Pirates' closer with Jason Grilli on the disabled list. Melancon, who made the National League All-Star team as a setup man in 2013, is 1-2 with a 2.37 ERA and five saves in 2014 -- but he blew a save on Thursday in Milwaukee and was charged with a loss.
The Pirates (17-23) will be playing at the new Yankee Stadium for the first time, becoming the 26th different opponent to do so. Only the Marlins, Cardinals and Padres have yet to play a game in The House The Boss Built.
The Yankees are 20-5 in opponents' first-ever game at the new Stadium.
On deck:David Phelps (0-0, 4.09) will make his third start of the season Friday, opposed by fellow righty Edinson Volquez (1-3, 4.36), first pitch at 7:05 p.m.