TORONTO -- Rookie right-hander Kyle Drabek has pitched serviceably in his first two big league starts. But on Tuesday, he will get his first taste of pitching against a playoff contender as he takes on the defending World Series champion Yankees.
Thus far, Drabek has faced the Mariners and Orioles -- two teams well under the .500 threshold. The 22-year-old, acquired in the Roy Halladay deal, has tallied a 4.91 ERA, allowing 13 hits over 11 innings pitched.
Drabek said his start vs. the Yankees -- who are neck-and-neck with the Rays for tops in the American League East entering Monday's contest -- will be intense.
"I love when there are a lot of people, especially at home," Drabek said. "It kind of gets you amped up enough to try and do well. Big crowds definitely help out pitchers, because you know they're on your side."
That being said, Drabek acknowledged that there is a difference between being amped and overly excited.
"For me, I definitely don't want to be too amped up, because then I start getting quick with my rotation and things like that," he said. "But if I'm not amped up at all, then I'm just not in the game. There is a little fine line for me."
Following his first two outings, the right-hander learned the importance of attacking the strike zone.
"The main thing is you have to get ahead in the count," Drabek said. "In my last two starts, I hadn't been doing that. I had been behind in the count most of the time. That doesn't help you when you're trying to get early outs and stuff like that."
Marcum plans to appeal plunking fine
TORONTO -- Blue Jays starting pitcher Shaun Marcum was fined by Major League Baseball on Monday, for hitting designated hitter Luke Scott with a pitch in Sunday's series finale against the Orioles.
Marcum grazed Scott in the chest with a first-pitch fastball to lead off the fourth inning. In what the Orioles may have interpreted as retribution for clipping Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista with a pitch in the previous frame, Marcum insisted he did not throw at Scott on purpose.
"I think everybody around here knows I have good enough control that if I'm going to hit somebody, I'll square them up in the back," Marcum said. "I'm not going to hit them in the sleeve or something like that."
Out of principle, Marcum plans to appeal the $750 fine, citing that warnings were not issued to the two teams until after Bautista and Scott had both been hit.
Things escalated further when Bautista was hit for a second time by reliever Alfredo Simon -- who is normally reserved for late situations -- in the fifth. With warnings already set in place by home-plate umpire Bill Welke, Simon and manager Buck Showalter were subsequently ejected from the game.
The league took action on Monday, suspending Simon for three games and Showalter for a single contest.
Despite Showalter and Simon denying any intent to throw at Bautista, the Major League home run leader wasn't buying it.
"They were going to get what they deserved regardless," Bautista said. "Like I said [on Sunday], I think they knew what they were doing. The second time I got hit, it was pretty obvious. I don't care what their comments were after the game, I did read them. I don't believe what they said. But whatever.
"That doesn't give me any pleasure that they got suspended or whatever, it's just what they deserved."
Bautista was caught off-guard by the two plunkings, especially since he has always gotten along well with Simon.
"I just don't know what the message is," Bautista said. "What message can they be sending?"
One reporter responded by saying, "Stop hitting home runs."
"Make better pitches," Bautista said. "I'm not trying to be cocky or anything, I'm just trying to find answers, and I don't really have them. I don't know what their train of thought is, I have no idea."
As per Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, second baseman Aaron Hill was left out of Monday's starting lineup against the Yankees to receive a mental day of rest. Gaston expects Hill -- who has had a difficult season by his standards -- to be back in the lineup on Tuesday. John McDonald served as Hill's replacement. ... "Probably been some fights going on out there. If a fight wasn't going on, people would be running around, pretending like they were going to fight anyway," said Gaston on how Sunday's plunking war between Toronto and Baltimore would have been handled in his playing days. "And then it would have been all said and done. No fines or anything like that."
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.