There are players in both clubhouses who believe Ryan Dempster helped spark the Yankees a few weeks ago, but he doesn't buy it.
"Every time we play them, no matter who's playing what or whatever, we're always prepared to get the best effort that they're going to give,'' Dempster said before Thursday night's game. "I'm sure they expect the same from us. And that's what is fun about these games: They're always intense, they're always good games. We're ready for a battle and we're looking forward to that.''
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Dempster nearly triggered a brawl between the clubs Aug. 18 when he hit Alex Rodriguez in the second inning after throwing behind him in the first pitch of the at-bat.
Dempster earned a slap on the wrist from MLB -- a five-game suspension -- but drew the ire of some in his clubhouse, including David Ortiz, who felt the incident woke up a sleeping dog.
"You had them sleeping, you just let them sleep,'' Ortiz said Thursday with a laugh.
Dempster started Wednesday night's 20-4 victory over the Tigers and won't pitch in this series, a disappointment to more than a few in the Yankees' clubhouse.
Injury reportThough Kevin Youkilis (back) hoped to make it back by the end of September, Joe Girardi indicated that is unlikely. "He's just done some dry swings,'' he said, adding that Youkilis is "probably the least probable'' of the Yankees on the DL to make it back by season's end.
The player with the best chance seems to be Zoilo Almonte (ankle sprain). Girardi also said David Phelps (forearm strain) could make it back. "Maybe you get him back at the end of the year for relief,'' he said.
A time for sleepThough his team is in hot pursuit of the Rays, with Tampa Bay in the midst of a West Coast trip, Girardi said he hasn't been staying up for the conclusion of those games: "That's way too late.''