ARLINGTON -- The Yankees have been saying for months that the Rangers are still the team to beat in the American League, a nod to Texas' appearance in last year's World Series against the Cardinals and the 2010 Fall Classic against the Giants.
This week's series at Rangers Ballpark, then, figures to provide the Yankees with a very strong indication of how good they should feel about their season's first month.
"This is a club, you can't take anything for granted," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "If there's a ball in the dirt, they're going to second base, they're trying to move up. So you have to be on your toes at all times when you play this team. They're very athletic, and they use that to their advantage."
The Rangers will provide a complete test for New York's pitching staff, Girardi said.
"They're very explosive," Girardi said. "You have to be at the top of your game right away, from the first inning on, or it could be a short night. You're going to need some distance."
Yankees commit to Garcia for next start
ARLINGTON -- Freddy Garcia's troublesome outing against the Red Sox will not push him to the Yankees bullpen, as manager Joe Girardi said that the veteran right-hander "absolutely" will remain in the club's starting rotation.
The Yankees have not yet decided how to align their rotation beyond Friday, when Ivan Nova is scheduled to pitch against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium. They could pitch Garcia on Saturday or bring back ace CC Sabathia on his regular rest.
"We're not sure what we'll do, if we'll put Freddy there or bring CC back on his normal rest," Girardi said. "But Freddy's going to pitch again, if that's the question. Freddy's going to start again."
Garcia was shelled for five runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings by the Red Sox on Saturday, taking a no-decision as the Yankees rallied for 15 unanswered runs after the fifth inning to post a stunning 15-9 victory at Fenway Park.
With Andy Pettitte closing in on a return to the Majors, both Garcia (9.75 ERA in 12 innings) and Phil Hughes (6.75 ERA in 13 1/3 innings) should be considered on notice.
The Yankees have said that when Pettitte is ready -- he'll pitch on Wednesday for Double-A Trenton -- the five-time World Series winner is guaranteed a rotation spot.
"If I don't pitch the way I have to pitch, that's my problem," Garcia said on Saturday. "Whatever moves they have to do, they're doing it, no matter what. It's all about me.
"If I don't pitch good enough, that's my problem. I'm not thinking about who's coming back or they'll bring back. It's not my job to worry about it. My job to worry about is pitch good, that's all."
MRI will shed light on Pineda's injury
ARLINGTON -- The Yankees will wait another day for more information on right-hander Michael Pineda, who was unable to complete an extended spring appearance on Saturday due to right shoulder discomfort.
Pineda is now scheduled to undergo a dye contrast MRI exam on Tuesday in New York, at the direction of team physician Christopher Ahmad. Manager Joe Girardi said that a scheduling conflict pushed back Pineda's examination.
"He's going to see the doctor [on Tuesday] and go through all his tests tomorrow," Girardi said. "At some point tomorrow evening, we should have something."
Pineda has been on the disabled list, retroactive to March 31, with what the team has termed right rotator cuff tendinitis. He suffered a setback during Saturday's start, cutting short his outing after just 15 pitches.
Backup catcher Chris Stewart got the starting nod behind the plate on Monday instead of Russell Martin, but the Yankees aren't looking to make Stewart into a personal catcher for ace CC Sabathia. Girardi said that he simply wanted to give Martin an extra day off and expects him to catch the next two games in Texas.
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, out with a right elbow strain, was slated to do some running and throwing on Monday. The team does not expect him to resume hitting until at least Friday in New York.
On this date in 2000, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams became the first pair of teammates in Major League history to each homer from both sides of the plate. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays, 10-7, in Toronto.