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The pitching of David Price and a pair of two-run homers led the Tampa Bay Rays over the Yankees on Friday night, 9-3.  Price allowed three runs and seven hits in a career-best 7 2/3 innings. Carlos Pena and Willy Aybar hit the two-run home runs.

Javier Vazquez got the start for the Yankees and for the first three innings was effective, but in the bottom of the fourth, Jason Bartlett started the offensive surge for the 3-1 Rays. Carl Crawford, Dioner Navarro and Ben Zobrist also drove in runs for the Rays.

Alex Rodriguez had a RBI triple in the top of the fourth for the Yankees, who were limited to four hits until Derek Jeter and Nick Johnson doubled to open the eighth, producing New York’s third run. Price gave up an infield single to Robinson Cano and walked Jorge Posada to load the bases. Lance Cormier replaced Price and struck out Nick Swisher to get out of the jam.

A-Rod’s triple scored home Nick Johnson, who got his first hit of the season before A-Rod’s at-bat, and Rodriguez scored when Dionner Navarro threw erratically, producing an “in-the-park-homer”. That was all the Yankees could do until the 8th inning.

Price was simply the better pitcher tonight. The Yankees have batted .123 against Price since his debut in 2007 and they simply need to find a better way to perform against him.

Saturday’s game is at 3:10pm and features CC Sabathia in his second start of the season against Wade Davis, making his first start of 2010. I’m feeling the Yankees will rebound and get this one.

(AP photo of David Price)

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One story that I enjoyed finding out about Yankee traditions is that Yogi Berra has his golf clubs shipped to Tampa. These clubs were at first stored in Joe Torre’s office. Now they’re in Joe Girardi’s office.

Guess who was at the camp today? None other than Yogi.

The Yanks had a bunch of bullpen sessions. Both Hughes and Chamberlain threw today. The aces of the team — Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, and Vazquez are all not pitching for a few days as to preserve their arm for a possible long season ahead of them.

Chad Jennings has photos and a summary of today’s workout. He reports that Pettitte feels good, even though he did the most innings since 2002, and Pettitte says it’s because the team was able to preserve the starters in September for the playoff run.

Enjoy the photos and the summary from Chad!

So much for Melky Cabrera being the starting left fielder. The Yankees and the Braves have agreed to a trade that will send Melky, Mike Dunn, and righty Arodys Vizcaino to the Braves in exchange for starter Javier Vazquez and lefty Boone Logan.

Vazquez would become the Yankees #4 starter. He went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts for the Braves last year, and finished 4th in the AL Cy Young voting. He also posted a WHIP of 1.03 and threw 219.1 innings.

Many fans remember him for his ugly performance in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS in which the Red Sox clobbered him, but he’s a very good pitcher and is a great acquisition for the Yanks.

Logan on the other hand, hasn’t been a great pitcher in the first couple years of his young career. The 25-year old lefty posted a 5.19 ERA in 20 games for the Braves this past season, and has a career ERA of 5.78. I think the Yankees accepted him just to make this deal happen. They will probably let Logan go.

I’m sad to see Melky go, but his batting average was poor. His defense was fundamentally sound, but you can easily get that from another prospect or free agent. This opens the door a bit more for the Yankees to consider Damon, or even move someone there, or yet sign or trade for another outfielder.

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