Josh Tomlin's big league debut on Tuesday will be anything but average, should such a thing exist.
Tomlin, a 25-year-old right-hander, will get the nod at Progressive Field, but the pomp and celebration of arriving in the Major Leagues won't last long. Tomlin will start opposite Yankees ace CC Sabathia, one of Cleveland's former favorite sons, and the rookie will be charged with preventing Alex Rodriguez from slugging career homer No. 600.
Tribe manager Manny Acta, however, is confident that Tomlin, a veteran of five Minor League campaigns, will be able to hold his own. "He deserves to be up here and get this start," Acta said on Sunday. "He has done nothing but pitch well as long as he's been in the Minor Leagues.
"He hasn't been high-profile, but he's proved himself at every level, and his record speaks for itself. His numbers need to be challenged at this level. ... I don't think his name was at the top of our board, but he's worked himself to the top of our board."
Through 20 appearances (17 starts) with Triple-A Columbus this season, Tomlin is 8-4 with a 2.68 ERA, 80 strikeouts and 33 walks in 107 1/3 innings.
For Sabathia, Tuesday's start will mark his second outing at Progressive Field since he was dealt from the Indians to the Brewers in a midseason trade in 2008. In his Cleveland debut as a visitor on May 30, 2009, Sabathia was the winning pitcher in the Yankees' 10-5 win over the Tribe. The lefty tossed seven frames of three-run ball in that tilt, fanning eight.
More recently, Sabathia has been on a roll, winning nine of his past 10 starts, taking a no-decision in the other. Each of those outings has been a quality start.
A-Rod, meanwhile, will have another go at netting his milestone long ball, having been held homerless in four games since belting No. 599 on Thursday vs. the Royals in the Bronx. Don't expect a prolonged drought, however, as his longest homerless streak this season stands at 15 games, from April 21 to May 8.
Rodriguez turns 35 on Wednesday, and should he homer, it wouldn't be the first time he's done so on his birthday. He's turned that trick five times in his career -- once each in 1996, 2001 and '04, and twice in '02. His homer total is already the most for any player prior to his 35th birthday.
Yankees: No bullpen shuffle on tap
Yankees manager Joe Girardi extended a vote of confidence to the struggling Joba Chamberlain prior to Monday's game, assuring that Chamberlain's job as Mariano Rivera's primary setup man is safe.
"You have to have confidence in your players," Girardi said. "He's done it a number of times for us. Yes, he's struggled at times. But you just continue to work at it. Sometimes when he struggles, you can see it right away and you get someone else up. Most times, I'm going to look at him as our eighth-inning guy."
However, the duo of David Robertson and Boone Logan navigated the eighth in Monday's win over the Indians, combining for a scoreless inning.
Indians: Stretch vs. AL East continues
The Indians are in the midst of a 14-game stretch against American League East opponents. The Tribe dropped two of three vs. the Rays, and they lost the first of four against the Yankees on Monday. After this, they travel to Toronto for three games vs. the Blue Jays, then to Boston for four against the Red Sox.
One thousand has become a magical number for the Bronx Bombers of late. Jorge Posada netted his 1,000th career RBI on Friday vs. the Royals, and Robinson Cano collected his 1,000th career hit Sunday, also against Kansas City. ... Indians right-hander Anthony Reyes, who underwent Tommy John surgery on June 12, 2009, will continue his Minor League rehabilitation stint on Tuesday with Double-A Akron. It will mark Reyes' third rehab outing, which began with a July 17 start in the Arizona Rookie League.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.