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Pearce poised to make most of his opportunity

08/29/2012 9:46 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

The Yankees acquired Steve Pearce to be another weapon against left-handed pitching.(AP)

Poll

Steve Pearce went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in his Yankees debut on Tuesday, a line that might not exactly look menacing on paper.

But in just being part of the Yankees lineup, Pearce saw his season come full circle and made the most of the opportunity.

After being released by Minnesota late in Spring Training, the 29-year-old outfielder/first baseman was hoping for an opportunity somewhere, anywhere, to continue his career. The Yankees obliged by signing him to a Minor League deal, and all Pearce did in return was hit .312 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- a mark that led the International League on June 2.

But it was on that day that Pearce was traded to Baltimore for cash considerations, and while it was a bittersweet departure for the Florida native, it meant that he would get a chance to ply his trade at the Major League level.

Nearly three months and another stop in Houston later, Pearce is back where it all began so to speak, re-acquired by the Yankees on Monday even before Mark Teixeira’s injury clouded the team’s situation at first base. The leadoff base on balls he drew in the fourth inning Tuesday ended up leading to him scoring what was the winning run in the Bombers’ 2-1 victory over the Blue Jays, and with Teixeira out for an undetermined amount of time with a strained calf, he’ll likely get a lot more chances to be a key contributor for the Yankees down the stretch.

Pearce has hit very well against lefties in his career, so he is in the lineup once again for Wednesday’s series finale as the Jays send a man who narrowly missed being his teammate in Houston this season, J.A. Happ, to the mound. Acquired from Houston on July 20 (eight days before the Astros got Pearce from Baltimore), Happ has gone 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in eight games (four starts) with the Jays and is 9-10 with a 4.68 overall this season.

His opponent in the battle of lefties will be CC Sabathia (13-3, 3.44), who is coming off a 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H performance against Cleveland last Friday in his return from the disabled list, and with David Robertson and Rafael Soriano both “likely unavailable” after having pitched both Monday and Tuesday, another long, strong outing from Sabathia would help the Yankees go into Thursday’s off day on a high note.

Here are today's lineups for the Blue Jays and Yankees:

TORONTO:
Rajai Davis LF
Mike McCoy CF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Adam Lind 1B
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Moises Sierra RF
Jeff Mathis C
Adeiny Hechavarria 3B

YANKEES:
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Andruw Jones RF
Curtis Granderson CF
Steve Pearce DH
Jayson Nix 3B
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Chris Stewart C

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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