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TB@TEX: Smyly fans nine over 7 2/3 scoreless innings

When the Detroit Tigers visited Yankee Stadium last week, they threw their newest ace, David Price, against New York in his debut with the team.

Saturday afternoon, the Yankees will face one of the returns in that three-team blockbuster trade in Drew Smyly, who will make his home debut against a team that hovers just above the Rays in the standings.

"Hopefully it's a good game. You can't put too much pressure on yourself or it won't go smoothly," Smyly said of his first start at Tropicana Field in a Rays uniform. "I know when the Yankees are in town it's always a big series. We look forward to it, it's gonna be fun."

In his last start, Smyly went a career-long 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Rangers, improving upon his first start with the Rays when he surrendered three runs to Oakland on Aug. 5.

"It felt great," Smyly said of his last outing. "It was a good game for me and for the team. We scored a lot of runs. I was able to pitch pretty good. If you're making it into the eighth, you're doing something right."

The offensively slumping Yankees, meanwhile, will hope to disrupt another career performance by disrupting their five-game losing streak -- during which the team hasn't scored more than three runs in a game, including a 5-0 shutout Friday night.

"We're going to have to [avoid losing streaks]," said manager Joe Girardi. "If you want to play in October, you have to. A lot of times, it comes down to one hit or one pitch that really makes the difference. It comes down to execution, and we just need to out-execute everybody else."

The Yankees will push Shane Greene to the bump in an effort to distance themselves from the Rays, who have crawled to within one game behind the Yanks for third place in the American League East. Tampa Bay, which was 18 games under on June 10, got back to the .500 mark for the first time since April 22 with its win in the opener.

‪Greene's sixth start of the year was his best as a rookie when he threw a career-high eight scoreless innings against the Tigers on Aug. 7, earning his third win of the season.

Yankees: Back with team, McCann nearing activation
Brian McCann has rejoined the Yankees in Florida after spending the Orioles series in New York, recovering from a mild concussion.

McCann participated in on-field activities on Friday, performing catching drills and taking batting practice, and could be activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list as early as Sunday.

"I'm really happy with the way today went as a whole," McCann said. "Now it's a matter of seeing how I feel in an hour, seeing how I feel in two hours. I'll know more tonight."

McCann said that he started to feel better after three days of rest. He was hit by a foul tip in an Aug. 8 game against the Indians at Yankee Stadium.

‪ ‪Rays: Rehabbing trio nearing return
‪Outfielders Wil Myers and David DeJesus, along with catcher Ryan Hanigan, are getting closer to returning to the field, manager Joe Maddon said on Friday.

"Moving forward, you're gonna get Wil back, you're gonna get Ryan back, you're gonna get DeJesus back," Maddon said. "So we've got some freshness going into September."

Maddon said that the eventual returns of Myers, DeJesus and Hanigan will affect the team's dynamic "only in a positive way."

Myers (right wrist fracture) is currently rehabbing at Triple-A Durham, where he is batting .444 (4-for-9) with a grand slam in three games with the Bulls. It's possible that he could return by the end of the Rays' current homestand, although Maddon said Myers would let the team know when he's ready.

Worth noting
‪• Saturday's game at The Trop is sold out, the second sellout of the season for the Rays, with the other being Opening Day. Tampa Bay is 3-0 this season playing in front of home crowds of 30,000 or more, and 52-17 since 2008.

‪• Both starting pitchers in Friday night's series opener -- Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb and New York's Brandon McCarthy -- are players who have had to come back from line drives to the head. McCarthy was hit in 2012 when with the A's, and Cobb was hit last year at Tropicana Field.

‪• The Yankees have used 52 players this season (P-30, C-4, INF-11, OF-7), marking the second-highest total in franchise history, trailing only the all-time high of 56 set in 2013. Comments