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KC@NYY: Sabathia goes the distance but takes the loss

Thursday's stormy weather in Boston did not allow the Rays an opportunity to pull into first place in the American League East.

The Rays, who currently trail the division-leading Red Sox by a half-game, will return to Boston on Monday to make up the postponed game, but not before they play a three-game series with the Yankees beginning on Friday night in the Bronx.

New York's lineup will take on a different look by the time Tampa Bay arrives, as a deal to send outfielder Alfonso Soriano from the Cubs to the Yankees was finalized a few hours before Friday's first pitch. Soriano, batting cleanup and playing left field on Friday, began his career with the Yankees and was selected to two All-Star teams before being traded to Texas for Alex Rodriguez in February 2004.

CC Sabathia will be making his 22nd start of the season for the Yankees, but he'll be hoping for a reversal of fortune. The ace left-hander has not won since July 3, and he labored through his last outing, giving up seven runs on nine hits over five innings on Sunday in Boston.

Jeremy Hellickson will make Friday's start for the Rays. The Rays have not lost a game started by Hellickson since June 13, and the big inning that haunted the right-hander early in the season appears to be an issue he has overcome.

Hellickson, who has won seven of his last nine starts, said he is starting to feel more sure of himself.

"I feel good," Hellickson said. "I made a little adjustment on the mound, and my fastball command got a lot better. I just got a little more confidence in it, and things started turning around."

The three-game series represents the Yankees' first in the Bronx since the All-Star break. New York will not return to Yankee Stadium until facing the Tigers on Aug. 9.

Rays: Myers returns to Bronx
Tampa Bay's recent surge -- it has won 19 of its last 22 games -- and the addition of outfielder Wil Myers are hardly coincidental.

The Rays are 24-9 since Myers was recalled from Triple-A Durham on June 18, and on Friday, he will return to the site of his first Major League home run, a grand slam he launched on June 22.

Rays manager Joe Maddon continues to heap praise on Myers, whom the manager says does not seem to get overwhelmed by big league moments. A return trip to Yankee Stadium did not seem to move the meter much for Myers, either.

"It was cool to play at Yankee Stadium," Myers said. "That's just the way the schedule worked out. I'm looking forward to going back."

Yankees: A-Rod must wait
The Yankees may have a familiar face back in the lineup in the form of Soriano, but based on what general manager Brian Cashman has said, fans should not expect to see Alex Rodriguez back in pinstripes until August.

"We're certainly trying to get there as fast as we possibly can, but we need a healthy player to do so," Cashman said on Thursday of Rodriguez.

Rodriguez appeared set to return from offseason left hip surgery late last week but strained his left quadriceps before he could complete his rehabilitation assignment.

Rodriguez has since sought a second medical opinion on the injury and released a statement saying he was prepared to play.

"Obviously I know from Alex's end, he has always wanted to play as soon as possible," Cashman said. "It just comes down to, when is that feasible?

Worth noting
• The Rays have not won a series at Yankee Stadium since May 20, 2010.

• Sabathia is 1-2 in three starts against the Rays this season. He is 11-11 with a 3.57 ERA in 32 career starts against the Rays.

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