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Notes: Lofton to start in Game 3
10/07/2004 7:55 PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kenny Lofton will get the start in center field on Friday, as the Yankees and Twins square off in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.

Lofton's start will move Bernie Williams to the designated hitter role for the first time in the series. Lofton hasn't played in either of the first two games of the series, a change for the 37-year-old.

It was somewhat surprising that Lofton didn't start in Game 2 against Brad Radke, as Lofton had excellent numbers against the right-hander during his career. But Torre, who said that Lofton was "curious" as to why he didn't play on Wednesday, was in a better mood upon hearing the news that he would start on Friday.

"Lofton was a lot happier about that," Torre said.

"Wouldn't you be happy?" Lofton said. "I've played in the playoffs in nine years, playing in every single one of those games. I'm happy I'll be able to play."

Lofton has been to the postseason with the Indians five times, as well as with the Braves, Giants and Cubs. This is the ninth time that his team has made it to October, but he has never won a World Series ring.

With an opportunity to play Friday, Lofton is hoping to prove to Torre that this shouldn't be a one-shot deal.

"I can't do anything sitting down," Lofton said. "I'll get a chance to play [Friday], and hopefully I'll get to keep playing. I just don't know."

The rest of the Yankees' lineup will look similar to the first two games. Derek Jeter will lead off, followed by Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, Williams, Jorge Posada, John Olerud, Miguel Cairo and Lofton.

Grand Tanyon: After a gutty, 2 2/3-inning performance in the extra innings of Game 2, Tanyon Sturtze may be available to work out of the bullpen again on Friday, though his pitching coach isn't counting on it just yet.

"I'm not sure if he'll be available or not, but this time of year, guys make themselves available almost daily," said Mel Stottlemyre. "He was close to tiring himself out yesterday, so he might be questionable tomorrow."

Sturtze, on the other hand, didn't seem to have any doubts in his mind as to his availability, even though he threw 56 pitches on Wednesday night.

"It's the playoffs," Sturtze said. "I'll be available."

Sturtze held the Twins scoreless over 2 2/3 innings before Torii Hunter belted a go-ahead homer in the 12th.

"When I left the mound, I felt like I failed and let us down," Sturtze said. "I just wanted us to come back. We've done it so many times this year, so it's not that we expect to do it, but we know we can."

He got his wish, as the Yankees rebounded with a pair of runs, taking a dramatic 7-6 win.

"It's pretty incredible to be sitting here in the playoffs with this team," said Sturtze, who started the season pitching for the Dodgers' Triple-A team. "I haven't really sat down and thought about it, and I won't until it's over. Right now, I just want to get my work done and try to get outs."

Strange place: Jason Giambi watched the first two games of the ALDS from the Yankees' dugout, unable to do anything about their outcome.

Giambi was left off the roster when the Yankees opted to take 11 pitchers, but the slugger has no hard feelings with regards to why the decision was made, given his slow return from a benign tumor over the final three weeks of the season.

"I understand it. I have no regrets, because I tried my best to come back," Giambi said. "It was just bad timing."

Giambi is still working in the batting cages with hitting coach Don Mattingly, but he's not getting his hopes up about making the roster should the Yankees advance to the ALCS or the World Series.

"I want to be in there, playing with the guys and being a part of it. That's what I came here to do," Giambi said. "But at the same time, I have to be in here, cheering the guys on. It would be selfish of me not to be excited for them."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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