Derek Jeter nubs the ball and beats the throw for...

Derek Jeter nubs the ball and beats the throw for an infield single. (April 2, 2011) Credit: David Pokress

The race to 3,000 is on.

After taking the collar on Opening Day, Derek Jeter had two hits Saturday in the Yankees' 10-6 win over the Tigers.

With 2,928 hits, Jeter is 72 short of becoming the first player to get all 3,000 as a Yankee.

He singled off the glove of second baseman Will Rhymes in the Yankees' three-run first inning and dribbled another single down the first-base line in the fifth. Jeter tied Hall of Famer Al Simmons for 35th on the all-time hits list.

With the Yankees leading 10-3 in the seventh, Joe Girardi had Eduardo Nuñez bat for Jeter to give him the rest of the evening off. Nuñez committed a throwing error on a potential game-ending grounder. That allowed Girardi to call on Mariano Rivera with the tying run on deck for a one-out, three-pitch save. He got Miguel Cabrera on a grounder to second.

Hughes next

Phil Hughes makes his season debut Sunday against righthander Max Scherzer. Girardi said he isn't concerned that Hughes' velocity seemed to be down in spring training.

"His velocity was similar last spring training," he said. "I'm a little bit curious what his velocity will be tomorrow, but I don't get so caught up in velocity. Phil has deception on his fastball because of his motion. I'm going to be more concerned on where he's throwing the baseball."


The Yankees will face their first two lefthanded starters of the season when the Twins pitch Brian Duensing (Tuesday) and Francisco Liriano (Thursday). With the Yankees beginning a stretch of nine games in a row Saturday, Girardi said he expects to start sprinkling in his bench players this week.

"You'll probably see our regulars play through the weekend," he said. "We've got a couple of lefties coming against the Twins. We'll talk about that. Possibly either DHing Alex [Rodriguez] a day or giving him a day or giving Jeet possibly a day. You really want to be smart and be careful, especially in this weather."

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