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CWS@NYY: Hughes impressive over eight frames vs. Sox

Phil Hughes' last start before the All-Star break saw the Yankees' defense break down behind him, in a 9-5 loss to the Red Sox on July 7. That's just one of two losses the Yankees have in their last eight games. The other came against the Angels, 10-8, on Sunday, the day before the Blue Jays and Yankees begin a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.

Toronto, like the Yankees, comes in with a win in its previous series. The Blue Jays are on the road for six games in seven days in an important American League East swing, visiting Boston next. New York, meanwhile, is wrapping a six-game homestand.

The Blue Jays, like the Red Sox, have plenty of catching up to do in the division. The first-place Yankees, meanwhile, have to determine just how much they want to add at the Trade Deadline, and at what cost.

"I think we have a very strong roster," general manager Brian Cashman said Sunday. "I think we have answers at every position. I really like what we have. I think it's going to be very difficult to improve upon that roster. I go into the Deadline very skeptical. The new Basic Agreement, when you trade players that are approaching free agency that are Type A-quality free agents, because they're high-end players, the new rules are that you wipe out the Draft pick if they get traded.

"We're getting [Andy] Pettitte back, in theory, we're getting Joba Chamberlain back, in theory, and [Brett] Gardner back, in theory. I'm not very optimistic that we'll be needing to be active or should be active given the price tags associated with the players."

Righty Henderson Alvarez is Monday's scheduled starter for Toronto. He had won two in a row entering his last start before the break, when the Royals touched him up for five runs in 5 1/3 innings. With 36 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings, Alvarez doesn't miss bats.

Blue Jays: Davis sits Sunday
Outfielder Rajai Davis' only duties Sunday were in pinch-running and defensive capacities. He's been struggling at the plate with an 0-for-23 stretch, and manager John Farrell wanted to give him a breather. He figures to be in the lineup on Monday.

"At times, he has chased some pitches," said Farrell, who inserted Ben Francisco into the starting lineup. "Prior to this recent stretch, when he has gotten pitches around the plate, he hasn't missed them. There have been a couple of at-bats of late where he has gotten his pitch and fouled it straight back or rolled into a double play."

Yankees: Gardner plays simulated game
Gardner (right elbow strain) played a three-inning simulated game on Sunday. He has twice had setbacks in rehab games, both times after doctors assured Cashman that the left fielder's right elbow strain was recovered.

"It's what [Gardner] actually does when the game starts with the bat," Cashman said. "If he can get past that, then we should be fine."

Worth noting
• Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano is riding an 18-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the Majors.

• This is the Blue Jays' first visit to New York this season. They make two more visits to Yankee Stadium this season. Comments