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October 28, 2009

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Yankees could be up against Pedro

THE New York Yankees could face familiar old foe Pedro Martinez in the World Series against defending champions Philadelphia Phillies that begins in the Bronx today.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel would not announce his rotation plans beyond Cliff Lee as Game 1 starter but said Martinez could get a start against a Yankees team he had often opposed in his years with the Boston Red Sox.

"We're going to use Pedro," Manuel said. "I look at Pedro as a starter. I think from his performance the other day at Dodger Stadium he deserves another chance to go back out there."

Martinez, who turned 38 on Sunday, pitched seven scoreless innings in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, giving up only two hits to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I think he's still got quite a bit left," Manuel said.

Martinez is 11-11 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts against the Yankees, though he has struggled to an 0-2 mark with a 5.93 ERA in his past five post-season appearances against them.

Opposing Lee in the series opener will be his former Cleveland Indians teammate CC Sabathia, who was named Most Valuable Player in the American League Championship Series.

Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez anchor New York's offense, with Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez on the other side in a US northeast rumble between cities separated by two hours of highway.

Besides Martinez, Manuel will fill out his rotation with left-handers Cole Hamels and JA Happ and right-hander Joe Blanton.

Joe Girardi is expected to follow Sabathia with AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte while the Yankees manager considers bringing Sabathia back on short rest to make him available to start three times should the series go the seven-game distance.

One advantage the Yankees could hold is in the bullpen where closer Mariano Rivera has been nearly flawless this season and Phillies finisher Brad Lidge has struggled.

The Phillies are trying to become the first National League team to repeat as World Series champions since the 1976 Cincinnati Reds swept the Yankees in four games.

The Yankees, whose 26 Major League Baseball titles are 16 more than the next highest total, are looking to return to the winners' circle for the first time since their 2000 triumph over the New York Mets in the 'Subway Series'.


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