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yankees

Javier Vazquez Returns Tonight

Javier Vazquez last threw a meaningful pitch in the fourth inning of a game against the White Sox on May 1. (The ball that Mark Kotsay hit that inning should be landing any minute now.) Shortly thereafter, the Yankees opted to skip Vazquez's next start, which would have been last weekend in Boston, to give him time to work on his mechanics and clear his head. Tonight we'll find out if this plan actually worked.

Vazquez has thrown two bullpen sessions in the interim, the second of which was observed by Chad Bohling, the Yankees' director of mental conditioning. (This job exists, apparently.) Vazquez has been working on smoothing out his motion and keeping himself properly aligned in order to improve command and velocity — two fairly important things for a pitcher — but even he admits that the time off had more to do with his mental state than anything else. At the very least, pitching him in Detroit tonight, as opposed to last night, sets him up to start two Fridays from now at Citi Field against the Mets, who play in the National League. You know, the league in which Vazquez actually excelled, once upon a time.

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Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images