First Pitch: Can Jeter, A-Rod spark Yanks?

NEW YORK -- It looks like Alex Rodriguez is on his way back to the Bronx. So, it seems, is Derek Jeter.

And their timing couldn't be better.

The Yankee offense has been awful for much of the season. At certain points, it's been non-existent.

So the Yanks can only hope that Jeter and A-Rod can spark things when they return to the big leagues. There is no definitive timetable for their returns, but Jeter will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday and Rodriguez started his earlier this week.

The Yanks, it seems, could use a spark from either one of their stars at this point.

Entering play Friday, the Bombers' offense ranked 18th in runs scored, 24th in on-base percentage and 24th in slugging percentage. Yikes.

For most of Friday's game, their offensive struggles continued.

The Yanks left ten runners on base and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position through the first eight innings of the game before staging a two-run, game-winning rally in the ninth.

So can Jeter, who hit .316 last season, give the Yankee offense the boost it so desperately needs? What about A-Rod? Can he regain any power in his swing to help a Yankee lineup that has little pop?

The Yanks can surely use a home run threat.

They've homered in just nine of their last 26 games and are 12-24 this year when they fail to homer. Their 36 games without a homer this season are already four more than all of last year.

Logic says they'd need to hit with more power and more frequency if they hope to catch Boston and Baltimore in the AL East.

UP NOW: Vernon Wells hit a walk-off single and Ivan Nova earned another start after his first career complete game.

ON DECK: Andy Pettitte (5-6, 4.40) faces Chris Tillman (10-2, 3.68), first pitch at 1:05 p.m.

QUESTION: Do you think Jeter and A-Rod can spark the Yankee offense and lead the team to the postseason?