Notes: Windup working for Bruney
Struggling reliever gets confidence boost from new strategy
NEW YORK -- Reliever Brian Bruney, who has struggled recently out of the Yankees' bullpen -- his ERA skyrocketing from 2.52 to 3.40 from July 13-28 -- may have found a problem-solver for his pitching woes.
For his last two outings, Bruney, who has pitched strictly from the stretch this season, has started pitching from the windup when called upon with no runners on base.
Pitching coach Ron Guidry said the change has made Bruney more effective and given the right-hander a confidence boost. But the switch to the windup didn't come overnight.
"We've spoken to him before, but when you're set in your ways, you can't argue about it. They have to want to do it," Guidry said. "He sat in the bullpen the last couple of weeks and said, 'I'm not doing the job I need to be doing, so I have to do something. I have to change something.' Well, the last two times, he's done a good job and he's got a lot of confidence.
"When you're comfortable and you're confident that you can do it, you don't have to have great stuff to get outs. You can get outs just because you feel good and you know you can do it."
Bruney said the adjustment has been a long time coming. He's been tinkering with his windup during bullpen sessions over the course of the season, but just recently came to the realization that something needed to change.
"I know I feel more comfortable," he said. "It gives me some rhythm and some gathering."
Bruney has pitched two innings since making the change, striking out four without walking a batter. Giving up free passes has been a problem for Bruney this season -- he's walked 29 batters in 41 2/3 innings -- but pitching from the windup may be a fix, or at least a help, to his bases on balls struggle.
"Yesterday [Bruney] said, 'I love it because I feel like I have more control,'" Guidry said. "So as long as he's doing fine and it's working, stay with it. Whether it's the answer or not, who knows? But as long as he feels he's doing better, that's half the problem [fixed]. Why give yourself half your ability when you could start off doing as good as you can? He didn't have to do it, but he did it on his own."
Barry calls A-Rod: Giants slugger Barry Bonds, who tied Hank Aaron with home run No. 755 in San Diego on Saturday night, called and left a voicemail for Alex Rodriguez during the Yankees' 16-8 win over the Royals, congratulating the All-Star third baseman on hitting his 500th homer.
"He left a real nice message last night, actually right after the home run, I guess," Rodriguez said. "The voicemail was probably from about 3 [p.m.], so I guess he was watching from San Diego. And then he went out for the hit, so that's pretty cool."
Giambi watch: Jason Giambi batted 0-for-3 with a walk as the designated hitter for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. He's 1-for-6 with a home run at Scranton.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said it's unlikely Giambi will join the team on Monday in Toronto, but said he expects the slugger to be activated sometime during the team's road trip, which will take the Yankees to Toronto and Cleveland.
Torre added that the turf in Rogers Centre shouldn't be a problem if Giambi is activated while the Yanks are in town to take on the Blue Jays.
"He's going to DH probably, anyway," Torre said. "I don't think it's going to be an issue, and plus, the turf isn't what it once was."
Myers cut from bullpen: Veteran left-hander Mike Myers was told after the game that he will be designated for assignment.
A published report in the New York Daily News said that Myers was informed of the move by Torre and general manager Brian Cashman shortly before the team left for Toronto.
Myers, 38, was in the second year of a two-year, $2.4 million contract. He had a team-best 2.66 ERA in 55 appearances, but left-handers hit .312 against him.
"I was a little taken back by the move," Myers told the Daily News. "I thought I had turned a corner after the [All-Star] break, but had still given up some hits to left-handers. I know I wasn't doing the job they brought me here to do, so I don't have any hard feelings."
Farnsworth boos: Reliever Kyle Farnsworth continues to hear from the fans every time he's called upon out of the Yankees' bullpen. His past two outings made matters worse making the boos louder -- as the right-hander has given up three runs, including two homers, in his last two innings.
Torre said the team's upcoming road trip could help Farnsworth.
"I think he just needs to have a couple of good outings," Torre said. "He's been around a while, and you see signs of stuff. His slider and his fastball are powerful pitches for him. He just needs to locate on a regular basis, and I think once he gets a couple of good outings under his belt, [he will be fine]. Maybe the road will help him."
Rocket man: Roger Clemens presented astronaut Garrett Reisman with a Yankees banner and dirt from the Yankee Stadium pitcher's mound, as the Bombers honored Reisman in an on-field ceremony before Saturday's game against the Royals. The Parsippany, N.J., native will be on board the Space Shuttle Endeavor as part of Mission STS-123, a six-month expedition set to launch out of Cape Canaveral on Feb. 14, 2008. Reisman will bring the items with him to be displayed in the shuttle.
Coming up: The Yankees send Andy Pettitte (7-7, 3.97 ERA) to the mound on Monday to face Jesse Litsch (4-4, 3.47) in the first game of a three-game set in Toronto against the Blue Jays. First pitch is set for 1:05 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.