After missing all of September with elbow inflammation, Nathan Eovaldi will make his 2016 debut for the Yankees when they face the Astros on Thursday at Yankee Stadium, weather permitting. Rain is forecast in the area for most of the day.
Eovaldi went 14-3 with a 4.10 ERA in his first season with the Yankees last year. He would have been active as a reliever in the playoffs had the Yankees beaten the Astros in last year's American League Wild Card Game in New York.
"I'd like to pick up where I left off last year," said Eovaldi, a Houston native. "It was difficult the way the season ended, but it's a new season and I'm looking forward to the start of it."
The Astros will send right-hander Mike Fiers to the mound to face the Yankees for the first time in his career. Fiers made 10 appearances (nine starts) for the Astros after coming over in a July trade with the Brewers and was 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA.
"Being my first time pitching here, I'm definitely excited for that," Fiers said. "I'm excited to pitch against a team in the season when it counts toward the team's record. I just want to go out there and battle for my team and put up a quality start for these guys."
Things to know about this game
• The Astros' bullpen could be short-handed. Houston was forced to patch together 7 2/3 innings in relief Wednesday after starter Collin McHugh recorded just one out.
• Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro has RBI hits in both of his first two games with New York. He had a two-run double Tuesday and an RBI single in the first inning Wednesday. He then added a three-run homer Wednesday.
• The Yankees and Astros had split their first 20 meetings prior to Wednesday since Houston moved to the American League in 2013.