Notes: Yanks confident with roster
Club counting on young arms, Giambi to provide late boost
NEW YORK -- Wilson Betemit doesn't come with the pizzazz that Bobby Abreu brought to the Bronx last season at the trade deadline, but the Yankees feel like they're on the brink of making major additions to the team.
Two of the names are familiar. The other name should become recognized soon enough, even though he's yet to make his Major League debut.
Phil Hughes, Jason Giambi and Minor League prospect Joba Chamberlain are all in the Yankees' plans this season in different degrees.
"I know Phillip Hughes is coming off [the disabled list] in a few days, and hopefully Joba Chamberlain [will be coming up]," said outfielder Johnny Damon, who added that Giambi talked to him on the phone and said his foot has felt great throughout his Minor League rehabilitation assignment. "We have the two big pitching guys we needed down in our farm system, so hopefully that's going to help us out."
Though he's not on the Major League roster yet, Hughes is set to take the hill on Saturday against Kansas City, so he's penciled in as addition No. 1.
Before Hughes suffered a strain of his left hamstring during his 6 1/3 no-hit innings against Texas on May 1, he held opponents to a .189 batting average and struck out 11 in 10 2/3 innings. While pitching like he did against the Rangers seems a bit out of reach, Hughes said he's comfortable on the mound and ready to contribute.
"It's tough to kind of get back to a point like that, just because it doesn't happen very often, but I feel like I'm smooth right now," said Hughes, who later had another setback when he sprained his left ankle. "Mechanically, everything is going good. It's tough to tell, but I'm comfortable."
Giambi -- or addition No. 2 -- batted third and went 2-for-5 on Monday as the designated hitter for the Class A Tampa Yankees, but the timetable for his return to pinstripes is uncertain, manager Joe Torre said. In 45 games before tearing his plantar fascia, Giambi batted .262 with seven home runs, five doubles and 23 RBIs.
Then there's Chamberlain, who struck out the side in a scoreless seventh inning on Monday in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's 3-2 loss to Rochester.
The Yankees plan to bring up a pitcher from Triple-A to take the recently traded Scott Proctor's spot in the bullpen on Tuesday, but that pitcher won't be Chamberlain. No matter when the right-hander joins the club -- Torre noted that the team might not bring him up -- Chamberlain's ability is without question, according to Hughes.
"It's always hard to try to foresee how a big leaguer is going to react, but 98 mph with a slider is going to be hard for anybody to hit," Hughes said.
Reaction to Red Sox acquisition: The Yankees don't seemed focused on Boston -- at least, not on the player the Red Sox acquired at the trade deadline on Tuesday.
Closer Eric Gagne, though at one point rumored to be headed to the Yankees, ended up with the Red Sox on Tuesday. The Yankees, however, are keeping their focus souly on closing the gap in the American League East.
"Don't care. I do not," said Mariano Rivera, who days earlier said the Yankees needed to upgrade their bullpen. "They got [Gagne]. Well, they got him. We have to tack on a lot of things that we have to deal with. We don't have to worry about what they do."
Hits but no homers: Alex Rodriguez went up against former teammate Jose Contreras in search of home run No. 500 on Tuesday. In 15 career at-bats against the right-hander, A-Rod has batted 6-for-15 with a double but no homers. He went 0-for-2 with a pair of flyouts on Tuesday before Contreras was pulled.
No place like home: After starting the season by posting a 12-13 record while playing in the Big Apple, the Yankees are 20-7 in their last 27 games at Yankee Stadium, dating back to June 8.
Hot Hideki: Hideki Matsui has hit safely in 24 of his last 26 games, while hitting 12 home runs. Only Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (11) has come close to hitting that many home runs in the month of July. Matsui has even produced when he goes hitless at the plate. He recorded three RBIs despite going 0-for-3 on Sunday at Baltimore.
Bomber bits: Doug Mientkiewicz continues to take ground balls, but he hasn't been cleared to throw or take batting practice yet. On Thursday, he'll be evaluated by Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser, a hand specialist. "Believe me, nobody wants to be out there faster than me," Mientkiewicz said. "It's still not healed yet. It's still broken. I'll find out Thursday. Thursday is eight weeks from the injury." ... Remember Bronson Sardinha from Spring Training? He fell off the charts with a poor showing in 83 games at Triple-A this season, but has since found his stroke at Double-A Trenton. Sardinha has batted .417 with three home runs, a triple and nine RBIs in seven games for the Thunder since being sent down.
Coming up: The Yankees will send Andy Pettitte (6-7, 4.11) to the mound on Wednesday against Chicago's John Danks (6-7, 4.83) in the second game of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.