Stephen Drew: “Eventually it’s going to turn around for me”
Here are the quick hits as the Yankees conclude their four-game series against the Athletics here at o.Co Coliseum. Right-hander Jesse Chavez (1-5, 2.44) has the ball for Oakland, facing right-hander Adam Warren (3-3, 3.91), who remains on the bubble as a starter with Masahiro Tanaka set to return on Wednesday.
Stephen Drew was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game on Sunday, as the veteran infielder searches for ways to escape his season-long slump.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi again opted to start Jose Pirela at second base over Drew, who is hitless in his last 20 at-bats and is batting just .157 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 46 games this season.
“I told Stephen, continue to work,” Girardi said. “He’s trying to work on some things offensively. I’ve always said, whenever you play it’s an opportunity to open someone’s eyes. [Pirela], I thought swung the bat pretty good last night. I’m going to run him back out there.”
Girardi said that the 32-year-old Drew has been “pretty banged up” at times, but that the benching was not injury-related.
“This game sometimes, it’s a humbling game. I know that,” Drew said. “It’s not getting too high or too low, it’s just going out and playing every day. This year has definitely been frustrating at times. Besides these last couple of games, I’ve had some some productive at-bats, just no luck, so eventually it’s going to turn around for me.”
Girardi said that Drew’s average on batted balls in play (BABIP) of .164 indicates that he has not been rewarded when hitting the ball hard. Drew’s overall batting average is the lowest of any qualified Major Leaguer; the second-lowest player, the Angels’ Matt Joyce, is 29 points higher at .186.
“I still think this guy’s too good of a player not to hit,” Girardi said. “We’ve seen him hit a grand slam. We’ve seen him hit three-run homers. We’ve seen him hit the ball out of the ballpark. We’ve seen him impact the baseball. To me, eventually it’s got to even out.”
Brendan Ryan, who has been sidelined since Spring Training with a right calf strain and subsequent setbacks, started a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Sunday with Class-A Tampa.
Ryan lined a double in his first at-bat for the Yankees’ Florida State League affiliate. Ryan sustained a Grade 2 strain of his calf while fielding a ball in an April 1 exhibition game at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and is currently on the 60-day disabled list.
“Obviously he’s got to get some at-bats, because he really hasn’t had a Spring Training,” Girardi said. “He’s going to need some at-bats, be able to play a couple days in row, lengthy games, because you never know when you’ll be pressed into action for three or four days.”
Coming into the season, the 33-year-old Ryan was envisioned as the primary backup for shortstop Didi Gregorius. A slick fielder, Ryan batted .167 (19-for-114) with no homers and eight RBIs in 49 games for New York last season.
The Yankees returned right-hander Chris Martin from his Minor League rehab assignment on Sunday, reinstating him from the 15-day disabled list before optioning him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Girardi said that the club decided to keep the four left-handers in its bullpen – Jacob Lindgren, Andrew Miller, Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson – to prepare for a three-game series against the Mariners this week.
“He just has to pitch well and get on a roll. As we get some guys back, sometimes it gets a little bit crowded,” Girardi said. “What I would tell him is to be ready. When the phone rings, you want to be the guy.”
Martin, 28, pitched a perfect inning for the RailRiders in Saturday’s 6-1 loss to Norfolk, inducing three ground ball outs. He was 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 15 appearances before being placed on the disabled list May 9 with right elbow tendinitis.
Just a day off for Brian McCann, but it’s tough to take his bat out of the lineup. McCann has a .385 AVG (10-26 AB) with four homers, 12 RBI and seven runs scored during an eight-game hitting streak. John Ryan Murphy is behind the plate. … Girardi waited until he checked with Carlos Beltran to fill out his lineup card. Beltran literally gave Girardi the thumbs-up to play him. … Alex Rodriguez has hit safely in nine straight games, batting .394 (13-33 AB) with five RBI and seven runs scored. His last ten-game hit streak was back in 2012. … The Yankees have lost 11 of their last 13 games in Oakland dating back to July of 2012. … The Yankees are currently the only team in the AL East with a record above .500. … Fun pitching matchup tomorrow in Seattle: Michael Pineda against his former club and King Felix Hernandez for the Mariners.