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Saturday, August 21, 2010
King Felix earns crown in Bronx


Felix Hernandez put himself in some elite company after tossing eight-innings of shutout ball in the Bronx on Friday night.

Hernandez has gone at least eight innings in all three of his starts against the Yankees this season. He’s struck out at least nine in all three and has allowed only one earned run against the Bombers.

Lefty Grove and Bob Feller are the only other pitchers since 1920 to go at least eight innings, strike out at least nine and allow one or fewer earned runs against Yankees in three starts in the same season.

“He’s got a lot of weapons,” Joe Girardi said after Hernandez allowed just four hits and struck out 11.

 Hernandez is 4-0 with a 0.51 ERA against the Yanks over the last two seasons.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hernandez has the fifth lowest single-season ERA (0.35 ERA) against the Yankees in baseball history among pitchers who have thrown at least 25 innings.

"His ERA speaks for itself and sure enough, he lowered it a little bit more tonight," Curtis Granderson said.

A.J. BURNED: Bad A.J. was back in the Bronx on Friday night.

Yankees right-hander A.J. Burnett allowed six runs on 12 hits in seven innings against Seattle. Girardi said Burnett, who was coming off two strong starts prior to getting roughed up on Friday, struggled with his command against the Mariners.

Burnett (9-11, 4.80 ERA) allowed a three-run homer to Russell Branyan in the top of the first and gave up another homer to Branyan in the sixth.

“I just missed my spots,” Burnett said after throwing a season-high 122 pitches.

Burnett fell to 0-8 in his last 12 starts in August, dating back to 8/24/08, according to Elias.  

ACE IS UP: Reliever Alfredo Aceves (remember him?) will throw three innings on Saturday for the Trenton Thunder, who are playing in Portland, Maine, against the Sea Dogs. Aceves, who has been sidelined with a strained lower back since May 12, says he has been pain-free for the past two weeks.

 But the righty still has many more hurdles to pass before returning to the Bronx.

“This is spring training for him,” Girardi said. “We think he still needs to build some arm strength and get sharper. We’ll call him back as soon as there’s a need. But we want to make sure he’s ready before he gets back.”

SEE YA, ZACH: The Yankees announced that they have sent minor-league pitcher Zach McAllister to Cleveland to complete the Austin Kearns trade. He was 8-10 with a 5.09 ERA in Triple-A this season.  

McAllister entered the 2010 season ranked by Baseball America as the 5th best prospect in the Yankees organization. He went 7-5 with a 2.23 ERA last season in Double-A Trenton. McAllister was selected by the Yankees in the third round of the 2006 draft.

NUNEZ ON CLOUD NINE: Eduardo Nunez spent five-plus seasons in the Yankees’ farm system. He said on Friday afternoon that his call-up to the Bronx is “the most excited I’ve been in my life.”

He hoped to fly his mother, Victoria Mendez, in from the Dominican Republic for a game soon. He said he has family from Boston and New York who have been hounding him for tickets to a Yankee game. He hasn’t fulfilled any requests yet.   

Nunez was called up from Triple-A Scranton on Thursday to give the Yankees needed depth in the infield. Ramiro Pena has started the last four games at third base while Alex Rodriguez recovers from a strained left calf.

Nunez replaced Derek Jeter at short and then switched positions with third baseman Ramiro Pena in the top of the ninth on Friday night.