Toronto Blue Jays (45-45) at New York Yankees (55-34), 7:05 pm (ET)

After tossing a simulated game at Yankee Stadium last Friday, it appears CC Sabathia is ready to get back to work.

Sabathia is slated to take the mound tonight in the second installment of a three-game series versus the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium and hasn’t pitched since a June 24 win against the New York Mets at Citi Field. He suffered a left groin strain that day and has been on the disabled list since.

The left-hander, who also threw a bullpen session at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday during All-Star festivities, is 9-3 with a 3.45 earned run average in 15 starts and could be on a pitch count against Toronto.

Sabathia has won four of his last five decisions and is 4-2 in six starts at home this season. He has yet to face the Blue Jays in 2012, but is 12-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 16 career starts against them. What’s even more impressive is his 7-0 record and 2.73 ERA in the past eight starts in this series.

A 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner, Sabathia will avoid facing Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista tonight. Bautista left Monday’s 6-3 loss to the Yankees in the eighth inning with a left wrist injury suffered during an at-bat and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday afternoon. Bautista was in obvious pain and X-rays taken were negative. Last night he used Twitter after the game to update his status.

« Thanks everyone for your concerns. XRAY negative and further testing tomorrow. #fingerscrossed and wish me luck! »

Bautista is tied for second in the majors with 27 homers — one behind Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox. He is only 1-for-19 (.053) with four walks and eight strikeouts in his career against Sabathia.

The Yankees took the lead for good last night when Raul Ibanez clubbed a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning. Russell Martin also homered and Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to a career-best 19 games with a 2- for-3 effort at the plate, an RBI and a run scored. New York won for the seventh time in nine tries and extended its lead atop the AL East to nine games ahead of Baltimore.

« We’ve always liked him as a hitter, » Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Ibanez. « He’s come up with some huge hits for us. »

Cano has 12 runs, six homers, 20 RBI and 11 multi-hit games during the surge. New York leads the majors with 144 homers and has scored at least three runs in 40 straight games to set a franchise single-season record. The team record is 49 games from Sept. 7, 1950 through May 16, 1951. Cleveland did it in 48 games back in 1994.

The Yankees have homered 43 times in the past 22 contests and are 37-2 when holding opponents to three runs or less.

Phil Hughes started for the Yanks on Monday and did not record a decision with seven innings of two-run ball. Reliever David Robertson tossed a scoreless eighth inning for the win and Rafael Soriano was called on to get the final two outs in the ninth for his 23rd save.

Adam Lind hit a home run for a Blue Jays club that is second behind New York in homers with 131. Edwin Encarnacion finished with two hits and an RBI in a losing cause. Toronto had won two straight and three of four games, and will visit Boston for a three-game series after this series in the Bronx.

Henderson Alvarez allowed two runs in six innings in the no-decision, while Aaron Loup gave up Ibanez’s blast to absorb the loss. Toronto is last in the AL East at 10 1/2 games off the pace, but sits two games off the Wild Card.

Brett Cecil has the luxury of countering Sabathia on the mound for the Jays tonight and will make his sixth start of the season. Promoted from Double-A in June, Cecil was roughed up his last time out in an 11-9 road win against the Chicago White Sox on July 8.

He gave up seven runs — six earned — and six hits in 4 1/3 innings for the no-decision. Cecil is 2-1 with a 6.75 earned run average in five starts in the big leagues this season. The left-hander has made nine career starts against the Yankees, going 4-3 with a 4.96 ERA.

Toronto won two meetings with New York back in May and still has prevailed in four of the past six matchups between the teams. The Yankees, though, have won the last six encounters at home.

On this day 71 years ago, Yankees Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio had his incredible 56-game hitting streak come to an end. He then had a 16-game hit streak after the amazing tear came to a close.



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