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Yankees newcomers brace for Sox rivalry

Yanks newcomers brace for Boston

The biggest names among the newest Yankees have all experienced the feeling of being under the lights at Fenway Park, trying to block out an intimate and passionate crowd intent upon jeering their every movement in road-gray uniforms.

But this weekend will be different for all of them, because their jerseys will be the must-boo apparel around Yawkey Way -- form-fitting polyester stitched with "NEW YORK" in loud, bold lettering across the chest.

Yes, it is Yankees vs. Red Sox time again, and Mark Teixeira is among those who is ready to find out exactly what it feels like.

"This is one of the greatest rivalries in sports," Teixeira said. "It's great for baseball and it will always be great for baseball. If anything, the energy that comes from the fans being into it locks you in. I remember when I was in the playoffs last year in Boston, I never felt more focused in my career. The boos, the energy, whatever you call it, it really kind of just locks you in."

Teixeira figures to get the brunt of the fan reaction all weekend, having shunned the Red Sox's advances to sign an eight-year, $180 million contract with the Yankees. Teixeira received a very vocal response during the Opening Week series at Baltimore, his hometown club, but the Boston crowds should be able to raise the decibel level a bit more.

"I never hear anything -- there's so much noise, you never really hear any words," Teixeira said. "I'm sure it will be the same. I expect heavy boos. I expect nothing less from those fans."

Also wearing interlocking "NY" logos upon their caps for the first time on a New England weekend is Saturday's starter, A.J. Burnett, as well as left-handed ace CC Sabathia, who will not pitch in the series. Outfielder Nick Swisher got a taste of the White Sox-Cubs rivalry last year and expects Yankees-Red Sox to trump it.

"As much as you want to think to yourself it's just another game, it's not," Swisher said. "It's completely different. There's just an electricity in the ballpark you don't get very often, except for the postseason.

"That's what I'm thinking, from the things that have happened in the past. As early in the season that it is to go there, I know we're looking forward to it and it's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be intense."

For the Yankees who have been through it, a series at Fenway Park is more about getting down to business, counting off the minutes until the hoopla dies down and the actual games can begin.

"We know that we're going to battle these guys a ton of times this year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We all know what the atmosphere is going to be. A Boston-Yankees series is great for baseball and we look forward to it."

Once the doors close to the cramped visiting clubhouse and the first pitch is thrown, the game regains some normalcy, and a regular-season April series can't compare to the highs that were felt during those epic postseasons.

"It's the same old, same old," Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said. "You've still got to throw strikes and run 90 feet between bases. It doesn't change."

"We just want to string together some wins," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "We'll go up to Boston and just hope this can continue and we'll play well."

So for the zest of the series and the pure excitement, eyes will be focusing on the newcomers, all of whom will likely see something they have never before witnessed over the course of the three games.

"I just don't think I can get any higher with Red Sox and Yankees," Swisher said. "That's the premier, that's the tip top. I know it's going to be a lot of fun. Hopefully we come out on top, and I do know I'm really looking forward to it."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Joba Chamberlain (0-0, 5.06 ERA)
The highlight of Chamberlain's brief big league career as a starter came at Fenway Park last July 25, when he handcuffed the Red Sox for three hits in seven scoreless innings, walking one and striking out nine. The Yankees would love to see another one like that this time around. Five walks and quite a few more hard-hit balls hurt Chamberlain in his second start of the season, which lasted just 4 2/3 innings. He threw 93 pitches, just 46 of which were strikes, and though there was nothing wrong with Chamberlain's stuff -- his mid-90s fastball and sharp slider were both on display -- inefficiency plagued him. He is 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA in six games (two starts) against the Red Sox in his career.

BOS: LHP Jon Lester (1-2, 5.50 ERA)
After two shaky starts to open the season, Lester rebounded nicely in his last outing, firing seven shutout innings in a win over the Orioles. The lefty fanned nine in that one while walking two. He gets the ball in Boston's first game this season against the Yankees. Last year against New York, Lester was 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA in two starts. He continues to be a dominant pitcher at Fenway Park, where he is 17-3 in his career.

Tidbits
The Yankees have won three straight games, four of their past five and six of their past eight. ... On Wednesday, center fielder Melky Cabrera had his first career multihomer game and second career walk-off home run (July 18, 2006, vs. Seattle). He became the ninth Yankee to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game. ... Jeter played in his 2,000th career game on Wednesday and hit his 210th career home run, passing Jason Giambi (209) for sole possession of 10th place on the Yankees' all-time list. Jeter hit his fourth home run this season in his 59th at-bat and 15th game, his fastest since 1999, when he reached four homers in his 36th at-bat in his 10th game of the season. ... Posada hit his 322nd career double on Wednesday, passing Yogi Berra (321) for sole possession of 11th place on the Yankees' all-time list. ... Second baseman Robinson Cano has a 10-game hitting streak, surpassing Swisher (nine games, April 6-16) for the longest by a Yankee this season. ... Swisher has reached base safely in all 15 games in which he has appeared this season. ... Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will pitch in an extended spring training game on Thursday vs. the Phillies organization at 1:05 p.m. ET at the Yankees' Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, 92.7 WQBU (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Yankees (A.J. Burnett, 2-0, 3.20) at Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 2-1, 3.79), 4:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 2-0, 2.53) at Red Sox (RHP Justin Masterson, 1-0, 3.18), 8:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Yankees (CC Sabathia, 1-1, 4.81) at Tigers (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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