06/10/10 8:34 PM ET
Yanks relish the return of Interleague Play
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The Yankees will welcome the Astros to New York on Friday to kick off a string of 15 Interleague contests, with a three-game series marking Houston's first visit to the new Yankee Stadium.
The Phillies arrive for a rematch of last year's World Series from June 15-17, and the Subway Series reprises June 18-20, when the Mets roll across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to the Bronx.
"I think there are some series that people are excited about," manager Joe Girardi said. "The novelty has worn off because we've been doing it for a long time, but I think people look forward to it.
"I'm sure people in Houston are looking forward to watching the new Yankee Stadium, and I know when we go to Arizona [June 21-23] and Los Angeles [June 25-27], I'm sure there will be anticipation there."
The Yankees are 134-97 (.580) all-time in Interleague Play, owning an identical record to the Twins. The Yankees have gone 10-8 against the NL in each of the past four seasons, and opened Interleague Play this year by going 1-2 against the Mets at Citi Field in May.
"I like it," outfielder Curtis Granderson said. "I always look forward to going [to National League parks], to see another pitcher in the game and a new ballpark. Interleague Play gives you a chance to play against someone you've never seen before."
This week Granderson spoke with Orioles outfielder Adam Jones about Boston's Mike Cameron.
"The first time I saw Mike Cameron was when he was with Milwaukee and they came to Detroit, and I never realized how much ground he covered in the outfield," he said. "I knew he was a good outfielder, but I had never seen him do what he could do. Adam said the same thing: 'Man, he covers so much ground.' And we'd never have [had] the chance to see him without Interleague Play."
Girardi names his All-Star Game coaches
BALTIMORE -- Joe Girardi joked that he might try to cram as many former catchers as possible into the American League dugout for this year's All-Star Game, and it would appear that he is on his way.
Girardi has tabbed Angels manager Mike Scioscia and Athletics skipper Bob Geren as his coaches for the game, which will be played on July 13 at Angel Stadium.
The Yankees' representatives will head to Anaheim after completing a seven-game road trip that takes them to play Geren's club in Oakland and also the Seattle Mariners.
"We have the West Coast swing, so we're going to keep it out West," Girardi said. "I'm happy to have both of them, and obviously, Mike has done it before and has been the manager before. I'm looking forward to that time."
Scioscia was a two-time All-Star as a player and managed the AL All-Stars in 2003, and he served as an AL coach in 2002. Geren will be heading to the AL dugout for the first time.
Girardi's Yankees coaches -- pitching coach Dave Eiland, bullpen coach Mike Harkey, first-base coach Mick Kelleher, hitting coach Kevin Long, bench coach Tony Pena and third-base coach Rob Thomson -- are all headed to Anaheim as well.
That means the Yankees will have a combined 51 years of big league catching experience between Girardi, Pena, Scioscia and Geren. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston told reporters on Sunday that Girardi had invited him, but he declined, saying that he would prefer to spend the time with his family.
Girardi said that Scioscia was an easy call for a number of reasons, not the least of which was where the game is being played.
Posada increasing his catching drills
BALTIMORE -- Jorge Posada continued to increase his catching drills on Thursday, receiving Phil Hughes' bullpen session, but the Yankees do not yet have a definitive date when he will get behind the plate in a game.
Posada has been working with catching coach Tony Pena and is expected to meet with a team physician on Friday in New York, making sure that his right foot -- which cost him 16 games after a hairline fracture -- is holding up to the extra work.
"He's obviously progressing the way we want," manager Joe Girardi said. "As far as having a target date of when he'll catch, we'll take it day by day, but we like what we see."
Girardi has a date in his head to get Posada behind the plate, but he does not want to rush the 38-year-old. Since Posada won't be able to catch in a rehab game, the Yankees need to make sure he is ready when the green light is offered.
Chad Moeller was behind the plate for an A.J. Burnett start again on Thursday, and that was not by accident. With Moeller only catching once every five days, the Yankees believe it makes it easier to keep him with the same starter each time. Moeller caught Burnett on May 30 vs. Cleveland and June 4 at Toronto. ... Outfielder Brett Gardner (sore left thumb) is expected to have an MRI performed on Friday in New York. Gardner reported that he felt better after tweaking the thumb on Tuesday but will not swing a bat on Thursday. He is available only as a pinch-runner. ... Right-hander Alfredo Aceves (strained lower back) has been on the disabled list since May 12 and is continuing to see a therapist. The Yankees are hoping to have an update on his prognosis by Monday.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.