A 10-game suspension led Michael Pineda to miss a potential showdown with his former Mariners team, and now Mother Nature has intervened to keep Felix Hernandez from facing the Yankees.
After heavy rains postponed Wednesday's meeting, the two clubs are set to finish up their current series on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET in the Bronx with Mariners rookie Roenis Elias taking on veteran Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.
Wednesday's game was rescheduled for June 2 at Yankee Stadium, with Seattle flying in on an off-day prior to a seven-game trip to Atlanta and St. Petersburg.
Elias, a 25-year-old left-hander from Cuba, originally was slated to start Wednesday, but he's being pushed back a day. That means Hernandez, who has traditionally been tough on the Yankees, will instead face the Astros in Houston on Friday.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi chose to just pass over Wednesday starter David Phelps and stick with Kuroda, who already was on schedule for Thursday. Phelps had been set to get a spot start in place of Pineda, the former Mariners All-Star who was suspended for 10 games on April 24 after umpires caught him with pine tar on his neck during a game against Boston.
Kuroda, 39, is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA in five starts this season after going 11-13 with a 3.31 ERA in 32 games for the Yankees last year.
Kuroda lasted a season-low 4 2/3 innings in his previous outing on Friday when he surrendered eight runs (six earned) on 10 hits in a 13-1 loss to the Angels.
"He just didn't seem to be real sharp," Girardi said. "His stuff just seemed a little flat. He's been a little up and down this year. At times, he's thrown better."
Kuroda is 2-3 with a 3.27 ERA in five career starts against Seattle. He knows he'll need to be sharper than he was against the Angels in his last outing.
"Right now there are certain pitches that are inconsistent," Kuroda said. "I need to make an adjustment and make sure I get them back. The biggest thing is to improve the quality of breaking balls."
The Mariners topped the Yankees, 6-3, in Tuesday's series opener as veteran right-hander Chris Young earned his first Major League win since 2012. Now they'll give the ball to Elias, who made the jump from Double-A to the starting rotation this spring.
Elias is 1-2 with a 3.54 ERA in five starts and will be making his first appearance against the Yankees. He gave up five hits and three runs over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Rangers in his last outing.
The 6-foot-1 southpaw kept his club close against Texas, wiggling out of a fourth-inning jam when he allowed just one run despite allowing a double and three walks as he settled himself and struck out the final two batters.
The Mariners came from behind to win that game, and manager Lloyd McClendon was again pleased with his young left-hander.
"I thought he threw the ball pretty darn good," McClendon said. "Other than that one inning, I don't think he was really stressed most of the game. He made quality pitches and did a heckuva job for us."
Elias said it continues to be a sharp learning curve as he adjusts to life in the Majors after earning Southern League All-Star honors last year for Double-A Jackson.
"I got a little out of my rhythm [in the fourth inning against Texas]," he said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "You have to attack hitters and stay ahead to control the game."
Mariners: Miller, Ackley expected back in lineup
Shortstop Brad Miller and left fielder Dustin Ackley weren't in the starting lineup against southpaw CC Sabathia for Tuesday's series opener, but both are expected to play when Seattle faces the right-hander Kuroda on Thursday.
Miller, hitting .174, was replaced by veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist in two games against left-handers in the Rangers series last weekend and was on the bench again against Sabathia. Ackley went 1-for-15 during the last homestand and has lost time recently to the newly added Cole Gillespie.
"I did not want to put Miller back in the lineup against CC," McClendon said. "Giving him another day will not hurt as well."
As for Ackley?
"Just giving Ack a breather also against a tough lefty," McClendon said. "He's my left fielder and he'll play. Just not today."
Yankees: Still getting used to Cano in new uniform
Derek Jeter acknowledged it's a little strange seeing Robinson Cano in the opposite dugout after the two were teammates for nine seasons, but he and the rest of the Yankees understand the business decision made when Cano signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with Seattle last December.
Cano was booed by fans at Yankee Stadium every time he came to the plate Tuesday in his first game back in the Bronx as he went 1-for-5 with an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base.
"You've gotten used to not seeing him, but then seeing him in another uniform … it's kind of an odd picture," Jeter said. "It's not the first time guys have played here and gone elsewhere. It's over and done with, and now the stories of what's going to happen when he comes back I think are over with. But it is a little odd."
• The Mariners have won three straight games at Yankee Stadium going back to last season. It's Seattle's first three-game winning streak in the Bronx since 2009-10. The Mariners haven't won four straight in New York since 2001-03 when they took six in a row at Yankee Stadium.
• Seattle catcher Mike Zunino became the second youngest player to record four or more hits in his Yankee Stadium debut when the 23-year-old went 4-for-5 on Tuesday. Wayne Ambler of the Philadelphia A's was 22 when he went 5-for-5 in his Yankee Stadium debut on May 13, 1938.
• Shortstop Brendan Ryan, currently on the 15-day DL for the Yankees with a cervical spine nerve injury, played rehab games for Class A Advanced Tampa on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and went 3-for-11 with two walks and two RBIs.