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NYY@TB: Kuroda hurls 5 2/3 frames in debut with Yanks

After erasing a disappointing 0-3 start by sweeping the Orioles in Baltimore, the Yankees head to the Bronx for their home opener against the Angels. Friday marks the 110th home opener in franchise history and the fourth in the short history of the new Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees rebounded from a St. Petersburg funk and the pressure that an 0-3 start can bring only in New York, giving the club some breathing room to enjoy the pomp and circumstance that may not have been there had the series in Baltimore gone differently.

"Well, I can tell you, [the season] started," manager Joe Girardi said. "These games have been a lot of Yankees baseball. Long, extra innings -- but yeah, there's something about going home and really feeling like the season's really started when you go home."

"We've been away so long, it's like we haven't started the season yet," added Mariano Rivera. "We open up in New York ... so that will be nice. That will be wonderful. The season will start for us."

Once all the pregame festivities -- including a ceremonial first pitch to be thrown by former catcher Jorge Posada -- have been put to rest, it will be up to Hiroki Kuroda to bounce back from a shaky Yankees debut and find a way to navigate a formidable Angels lineup. The right-hander surrendered six runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Rays on Saturday.

One of Kuroda's most notable challenges will be battling Albert Pujols, who gives the Angels -- the American League team that has arguably given the Yankees the most fits in recent years -- a new, powerful look.

"He's a great hitter, so it's a bat to be reckoned with -- another one," said Derek Jeter. "I don't know why we had to take the guys in the [National League] Central division and bring them over here.

"I know they're pretty excited in Anaheim about the team they have. They've always played us tough, regardless of who is on that team. It seems like every year, they're competitive. For us, it's nothing new."

The Angels will counter with Ervin Santana, who is no stranger to facing the pinstripes. Santana -- coming off a loss to the Royals in which he allowed six runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings -- will make his 13th career start against the Yankees. The right-hander is 5-5 with a 5.55 ERA in 71 1/3 career frames against New York.

Friday will be the third time the Angels face the Yankees in their home opener, and two years to the day from the last occasion. The Angels also helped open Yankee Stadium's doors in 1968.

Angels: Pujols makes second trip to Bronx
Albert Pujols didn't make many trips to Yankee Stadium in his 11 years in the National League. The only Yankee Stadium he's played in, in fact, was the old one. He played three games there in 2003, and again during the 2008 All-Star Game. Pujols also lived in New York for six weeks as a teenager.

The slugger doesn't appear to be overwhelmed by the idea of playing there.

"No disrespect when I tell you that, but to me, I look at it like another different stadium," Pujols said. "There's a lot of history in there, there was a lot of history in the old stadium, so I don't want to disrespect the memories and the history of the players that played through that city. But I don't get caught up in that. I try to separate the off-the-field stuff with my preparation."

Yankees: Museum to unveil new exhibit for opener
On Friday, the Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America will debut a new exhibit named "Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig: Baseball's Hardest-Hitting Teammates." The installation will include game-used memorabilia spanning from the first game at Yankee Stadium in 1923 -- including the bat used by Babe Ruth for his Opening Day home run -- to Gehrig's final season in '39.

• David Robertson has recorded six strikeouts in three innings this season. His ratio of 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings is the highest among all active players with a minimum of 100 innings pitched.

Worth noting
• The Angels went 4-5 against the Yankees in 2011 -- their first season-series loss to New York since '03. The Angels are 4-11 all time at the new Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are 50-58 against the Angels since 2000. It is their only losing record against an AL club during that span.

• The Yankees are 6-0 all time in home openers played on April 13. They are 72-36-1 all time in home openers and have won 13 of their last 14. Comments