Should be an interesting night here at Yankee Stadium, with Ivan Nova making his 2011 debut. Given the concerns about Phil Hughes' velocity, the Yankees could use the comfort of a strong performance.
Nova has one inning of experience against the Twins. Last May 16, he relieved Mariano Rivera to start the ninth inning, after Rivera served up an eighth-inning grand slam to Jason Kubel. As you can see if you scroll down, Nova faced four batters, only two of whom - Denard Span and Joe Mauer - remain with the Twins. Not much experience, which usually works in the pitcher's favor.
"But he doesn't know Nishioka," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said, smiling at the many Japanese reporters in the room, "so we have an advantage." Twins rookie second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka has a large media following. Gardenhire was playing to the crowd.
--Gardenhire said that Matt Capps would serve as his closer tonight, as Joe Nathan - who picked up a save yesterday - is still not at full strength following last year's Tommy John surgery.
--Very interesting development in the Barry Bonds trial, as prospecutors say they have discovered the tape of a conversation between Bonds' former friend Steve Hoskins and his personal doctor Arthur Ting. Last week, Ting - called up as a prosecution witness - destroyed Hoskins' testimony concerning Bonds' usage of steroids. If the prosecution can actually introduce this tape, and the tape discredits Ting, that could swing the momentum back to the prosecution.
--And as long as we're doing our legal sports thing, Roger Clemens was warned by the judge in his case to keep quiet.
--Our own JE is now contributing to the National Review Online's blog about sports. Check it out here.
--Have a great night.