Before the Yankees' first matchup of the season with the revamped Blue Jays on Friday, manager Joe Girardi said he was curious to see what his American League East rivals looked like. It was Toronto manager John Gibbons who ended up getting the eyeful, as the Blue Jays fell, 9-4, among some familiar faces.
"One thing about the Yankees, you expect [them] to win, all they do is win," Gibbons said. "You look over there at a couple of our ex-players that were really good for us in Toronto -- Vernon [Wells] and Lyle [Overbay] are doing a great job for them. [The Yankees have] been bit by the injury bug probably more than anyone in baseball, but they've taken a lot of heat, a lot of the predictions were against them. It doesn't surprise me one bit that they're playing good baseball, because that's what the Yankees do."
Toronto hasn't won a series against the Yankees since 2010, and the team will have a tall order against Hiroki Kuroda on Saturday.
It will be Kuroda's fourth start of the year, after he logged his fifth career big league shutout Sunday. The right-hander had a strong outing in his most recent start at Rogers Centre last season, hurling four scoreless innings before allowing two runs in his final 1 1/3. Kuroda won that game, adding to his 2-1 career record against Toronto, with a 4.67 ERA through 17 1/3 innings.
As Mark Buehrle makes his start for the Blue Jays on Saturday, he will be coming off his first win of the season, against the White Sox. The lefty was solid against his former club, recovering from a two-run first to hurl 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
Buehrle will need some of that momentum, as he looks to overcome some bad history against New York.
The veteran has spent 13 of his 14 seasons in the American League but has only been able to win one game against the Yankees, as a member of the White Sox in 2004. Buehrle owns a 1-8 record against New York, with a 6.38 ERA through 67 2/3 innings.
Blue Jays: Bautista back in lineup
Jose Bautista made his first appearance Friday after a four-game absence due to a sore back. He batted third as the designated hitter, going 1-for-3 with a two-run home run, his fourth of the season.
Yankees: Mo's advice for Jeter
If anyone on the Yankees' roster can understand what shortstop Derek Jeter is going through with his latest injury news, it's Mariano Rivera. Following an ACL injury that caused him to miss most of the 2012 season, Rivera had some sage advice for Jeter as he faces the likelihood of playing his fewest games this season since 1995.
"He has to be selfish and think about himself for once," Rivera said. "Think about what you have to do to get ready. Forget about what I can do for the team, he can't do [anything] for the team right now. What he can do for the team is make sure [he is] 100 percent mentally and physically, and then you are ready to help the team."
Wells and Overbay weren't shy facing off against their old club Friday, as each clubbed a solo home run, with Wells collecting two RBIs.
"They've both done a lot of great things for this city, for this team, especially when I was here the last time," Gibbons said before the game. "They're the kind of guys you root for, but we just hope we can shut them down."
Gary Cotton is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.