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Heated rivalry? Garcia knows about that

Freddy Garcia (36) of the New York Yankees

Freddy Garcia (36) of the New York Yankees pitches against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. (May 10, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Freddy Garcia wasn't trying to downplay his first start as a Yankee in baseball's most heated rivalry. It's just that he believes he's already pitched in the most intense environment he'll ever pitch in -- the winter of 2009 in the Venezuelan League.

"I played for one team in Venezuela, Magallanes Navegantes against Caracas Leones, it's like people kill for that," Garcia said before Saturday night's game. "So it's not pressure for me. In Venezuela, it's like huge. They go crazy."

Of course, the biggest reason Garcia (2-2, 2.61) brings good thoughts into Sunday night's start against Jon Lester (4-1, 2.96) is his performance to this point. He and Bartolo Colon have been the surprises of the pitching staff. Garcia is coming off perhaps his most impressive start, having allowed one run and six hits in six innings of a 3-1 win over the Royals Tuesday night.

"The confidence, I have a lot of confidence," he said. "I don't try to do too much. I go out there and pitch. Throw strikes and make a good pitch when I need it. I don't try to do much. Just go out there and do my thing."

As for pitching here, Garcia said, "I like it."

"You pitch good, the fans are behind you," he said before smiling. "You pitch bad, you're going to get your ---- booed."

Makeup date

The Yankees announced that their April 12 game against the Orioles -- postponed because of rain -- will be played Saturday, July 30, at 7:05 p.m. as the second game of a day-night doubleheader at the Stadium.

'Long day' for Hughes

Day 2 of Phil Hughes' arm-strengthening throwing program took place Saturday as he threw in the outfield with pitching coach Larry Rothschild. He threw at 75 feet after throwing from 50 feet Friday.

New York Sports