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NYY@BOS: Phelps fans five over 5 2/3 strong innings

Andy Pettitte made his return from the disabled list in style on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, with his five scoreless innings leading New York to a 4-2 win over Toronto.

With three straight wins and five in six games, the Yankees will try to take the nightcap of their doubleheader and continue to angle for the American League East title. Their win on Wednesday afternoon pushed the Bronx Bombers a half-game ahead of the Orioles for the AL East lead, although Baltimore will complete its three-game series against the Mariners at Seattle on Wednesday night.

The Yankees could be getting a big boost for their nightcap, as Derek Jeter may play shortstop for the first time in a week. The 38-year-old has been dealing with a bone bruise in his left ankle and played the past four games at designated hitter before sitting out Wednesday's matinee.

Jeter will go through some fielding drills between games before being cleared to return to his usual defensive role.

"He'll go out and do some work in between games, and if he can play short, he'll play short," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "If not, I'll have to make a decision if we DH him."

With no off-days remaining on New York's regular-season schedule, Girardi pushed up right-hander David Phelps -- 4-4 with a 3.39 ERA this season -- to start the nightcap. The rookie has posted a 4.17 ERA over nine starts in contrast to a 2.50 ERA in his 20 relief appearances.

Phelps went 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs in a start against the Blue Jays on Aug. 27, but he's also not entirely fresh. Girardi used the righty out of the bullpen on Sunday for two-thirds of an inning in a 6-4 win over the Rays.

Phelps will face off against Ricky Romero, who is 8-14 with a 5.87 ERA and was slated to be Tuesday's starter before rain spoiled those plans. In Romero's last start against the Yankees, he allowed two runs over seven innings but never got the support he needed; the Blue Jays only scored a run in New York's 2-1 win.

Romero leads the AL in both earned runs and walks allowed, and he has surrendered 10 runs in five innings over two September outings. The lefty has tied a franchise record by losing 13 consecutive decisions.

Blue Jays: Escobar suspended for three games
On Tuesday, Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended for three games after wearing eye-black stickers with a homophobic slur written in Spanish during a game in Toronto on Saturday.

Escobar said the slur is commonly used among Latino players, but he expressed remorse for his actions and said it was the only time he'd worn the phrase underneath his eyes.

The Blue Jays officially handed down the suspension, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos was at the Commissioner's Office with members of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and all parties were involved in the discussion.

Yankees: Gardner activation on hold
There was a chance that outfielder Brett Gardner would be activated from the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday, but the Yankees elected to hold off for at least another day. Gardner would be coming back in a limited role that would involve pinch-running and use as a defensive replacement.

It was initially believed Gardner wouldn't return this season, but the Yankees think the outfielder's speed could be valuable for the stretch run. Gardner resumed a hitting program since having arthroscopic right elbow surgery on July 24, but he's not close to swinging a bat against Major League pitching. The Yankees would have to clear a 40-man roster spot to activate Gardner, which is one reason for the delay.

Gardner has played in just nine games this season. He stole 49 bases last season. Comments