05/11/10 1:53 AM ET
Spark plugs igniting Yanks and Tigers
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
One thing Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson have in common is a huge impact on their teams so far in 2010.
Gardner, who has been playing center field for the Yankees with Curtis Granderson injured, had an 11-game hitting streak snapped in Monday's 5-4 loss, but he still drew a walk and drove in a run and is batting .333 overall and .381 (16-for-42) with 12 runs, one double, one homer, four RBIs and five stolen bases over his past 12 games. His 14 stolen bases rank second in the Majors behind the 15 pilfered by Juan Pierre of the White Sox.
In other words, this diminutive spark plug is proving on a nightly basis that he's a major contributor to a championship-caliber team.
"I felt all along that Gardy was an everyday player," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's hit left-handers all the way throughout, and he's comfortable in there. ... I love what he brings to the table."
Girardi probably would have loved what rookie Jackson has been bringing to the Tigers' table, but the Yankees had to sacrifice their highly touted prospect in their offseason trade for Granderson.
All Jackson has done so far is lead the American League with 16 multihit games this season and become the first Tigers player since 1920 or earlier to notch 16 multihit games in his first 30 contests.
Jackson, who notched his 10th RBI of the season on Monday night at Comerica Park, hit safely in 27 of his first 30 big league games.
"I'm trying to be somewhat of a table setter," Jackson said. "That's my job, to get on base any way I can and get in scoring position. That's my No. 1 focus and all I'm trying to do up here."
Yankees: Swisher swinging sweetly
Right fielder Nick Swisher has driven in at least one run in seven of the Yankees' nine games in May. This month, he has five homers, which is tied with Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez for most in the Majors in May. ... Right-hander Javier Vazquez said he's ready for Game 1 of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader after throwing two intense bullpen sessions between starts. "I think that when you struggle, confidence gets a little down," Vazquez said. "It's the same as when you're doing good. When you're doing good, confidence is way up. You know what? I feel good about [Wednesday]. Let's see how it goes."
Tigers: Cabrera a RISP machine
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera enters Tuesday's game against the Yankees hitting .500 (19-for-38) with runners in scoring position this season. He is tops among all AL players with a .500 batting average with runners in scoring position. ... Detroit's starter for Game 1 on Wednesday, Rick Porcello, has lost three of his past four starts and was touched up for five runs (three earned) in his most recent outing, a loss to the Twins. Both of his wins this year have come on the Tigers' home field, against the Angels and Indians. Porcello has faced the Yankees just once, and he gave up six runs on six hits and three walks in that outing. Porcello lasted just 3 2/3 innings, striking out one.
Right-hander Chan Ho Park, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring since mid-April, is slated to pitch on Wednesday in an extended spring game in Tampa, Fla. ... Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter owns a .344 career batting average (163-for-474) against Detroit, the fourth-highest mark among all active players. ... Tigers left-hander Dontrelle Willis was scratched from his scheduled start on Monday with flu-like symptoms after having a 102-degree fever on Sunday night. Brad Thomas made the start in Willis' place.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.