With A-Rod return looming, Yankees open series with Twins

Alex Rodriguez will re-join the New York Yankees this game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Rodriguez, who has been sidelined since July 7 with a knee injury, wrapped up his rehab stint for Triple-A Scranton on Tuesday, but the Yankees have stated he won't play on Thursday and may not appear in a game until this weekend.

"Our plans right now are still to bring him to Minnesota [Thursday] if everything goes OK," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We may not activate him. We may just have him go through some things for a couple of days, then wait a couple of days to activate him."

The Yankees could have used the three-time AL MVP on Wednesday, as they were denied a sweep in their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals, falling 5-4 in Wednesday's finale at Kauffman Stadium.

The loss was highlighted by a blown home run call off the bat of the Royals' Billy Butler that capped a four-run third inning. The ball appeared to hit off the top of the padded green wall and bounce back into play.

Immediately after second base umpire Dana DeMuth ruled home run, Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out to argue the call and the umpires went to replay for over five minutes.

When the umpires returned to the field, Butler bent down to grab his helmet, as if he was going to be called to second base for a double. Instead, Girardi and the rest of the Yankees in the dugout appeared shocked the call wasn't reversed.

"It's huge, especially if he's incorrect," Girardi said about the ruling by DeMuth.

The Yankees had a chance to go ahead in the ninth, but Jorge Posada struck out with the bases loaded to end the game.

Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin homered in the loss, while Derek Jeter had four hits and scored once for the Yankees, who still lead Boston by a half-game for first in the division.

Tonight, the Yanks look to get back on track behind the left arm of CC Sabathia, who was roughed up by the Tampa Bay Rays his last time out. Sabathia lost his second straight start and third in four tries on Friday, as he surrendered five runs and 10 hits in eight innings. He also struck out seven without walking a batter, but still fell to 16-7 on the year to go along with a 2.93 ERA.

Sabathia held the Twins to just two hits over seven scoreless innings back on April 5, but did factor in the decision. He has faced the Twins 29 times and is 13-8 with a 2.94 ERA.

Minnesota will counter with a lefty of its own in Brian Duensing, who has lost his last three starts. Duensing fell for the fourth time in five starts on Saturday in Cleveland, as he allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He is 8-11 on the year with a 4.53 ERA.

Duensing started against Sabathia earlier in the year and also didn't get a decision, but gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings.

The Twins come into tonight's tilt after taking two of three from the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers. In Wednesday's rubber match at Comerica Park, Justin Morneau's two-run single in the ninth inning boosted Minnesota to a 6-5 victory.

Matt Capps (4-6) gave up a sacrifice fly in the eighth after entering the game with the bases loaded and no outs to earn the win. Joe Nathan allowed a run in the ninth, but closed out the game for his 11th save of the year.

Jim Thome also knocked in two runs, including a solo blast, for the Twins, who won for only the third time in 12 games.

The Yanks took two of three from the Twins earlier in the year and have won five of their last six in Minnesota.