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09/11/10 9:42 PM ET

Lee returns to hill eyeing sweep of Yankees

When the Rangers pulled off the early July trade for Cliff Lee, they thought they were bringing the American League's best pitcher to Arlington. Although Lee has struggled in his first two months in Texas, the most important part of his season is yet to come.

Lee will be back on the mound on Sunday for the first time since Aug. 31, missing his last turn with a strained lower back.

"The back is better. Hopefully no issues. It's just minute," Lee said. "There are no restrictions on me there. I feel fine."

The Rangers hope Lee shows he's fine on the hill, where he's yielded four or more earned runs in six of his last seven starts. Lee's ERA, just 2.34 in his 13 starts in Seattle before the trade, is just over double that at 4.69 in 11 outings with Texas.

Texas can take heart, though. Lee endured a similar blip at the end of last season after he was traded to Philadelphia, compiling a 6.13 ERA in his final seven starts of the regular season. He went on to have one of the best postseasons in Major League history.

"My job is to be a starting pitcher and help this team win," Lee said. "I want to get back out there and do that ... get deep in the game, throw strikes and make them swing the bats. I missed starting and I'm anxious to get back out there."

Lee will face a Yankees lineup that is trying to avoid a sweep and overcome the slump of Derek Jeter. Jeter, who got a rare night off on Saturday, has just eight hits in his last 66 at-bats and has seen his average dip to .260 -- 32 points lower than Jeter's previous worst season. The shortstop is batting .231 in his last 87 games.

"He's struggling. I don't think there's any question that he's struggling," manager Joe Girardi said. "You always have that decision -- does he need a day off to get back on track or does he need to keep playing? You never really know the answer. But [Saturday's] day off is more that we played five hours [Friday] night."

"Any time you scuffle, it seems like balls you hit good, they catch," Jeter said. "Balls you don't hit good, they catch. Balls you don't hit, they catch. That's just how it goes. I wish I had an explanation."

Dustin Moseley will make the spot start for the Yankees against Lee, filling in for Phil Hughes, whom New York has on an innings limit.

Yankees: Pettitte nearing return
New York expects to get Andy Pettitte back in the starting rotation on Sunday, Sept. 19 in Baltimore. Pettitte, who tossed four scoreless innings for Double-A Trenton on Thursday, will make a second rehab start in the Eastern League playoffs for the Thunder on Tuesday. He's slated to throw five innings or 80 pitches -- whichever comes first -- to prep him for the Orioles next weekend.

"I want to try to feel great and mentally just start to get everything ready," Pettitte said. "There's no doubt I could pitch in a big league game, but they just do not want to do it. They want me to make another start and be careful. I'll try to be really good to go on Sunday in Baltimore."

Rangers: Cruz ties unique record
With his walk-off home run on Friday night, Nelson Cruz tied an impressive Major League record with his fifth extra-innings home run of the season. Only Charlie Maxwell of the 1960 Detroit Tigers had ever done that.

"It's special," Cruz said. "It's special when you're in that situation and your team is going good like we are. Every play is important and every home run is big. That's what's so fun."

Cruz's third walk-off homer of the season -- tops in Texas franchise history -- also made him the first person to hit a tying home run and game-winning blast in the same game this season. His mark is especially noteworthy given that he has missed 53 games in 2010.

Worth noting
The Yankees announced that they would be calling up Kevin Russo and Juan Miranda from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday. Both have spent time with the big club already this season. Russo, who can play the infield and outfield, hit .188 in 29 games for the Yankees while Miranda, primarily a first baseman/designated hitter, batted .230 with three homers in 28 contests. ... Saturday's game was delayed 59 minutes by rain. ... Julio Borbon leads the Rangers with eight RBIs in September. Borbon drove in four runs in July and August combined. ... A.J. Burnett uncorked his 15th wild pitch on Saturday, tying Toronto's Ricky Romero for the league lead. ... Boone Logan extended his streak of scoreless outings to 24 on Saturday -- the second-longest by a Yankee since 1920. It trails only Mariano Rivera's 28 straight scoreless outings to close out the 1999 regular season. For the record, Rivera's streak does not include the eight scoreless postseason outings he had that year before finally allowing a run in his first appearance in 2000.

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