Yanks puzzled by Park's statistics
Strong stuff in bullpen sessions not translating to games
PHOENIX -- The sharp buzzcut Chan Ho Park was sporting on Tuesday had nothing to do with his recent struggles on the mound. It is convenient for the summer, and -- as he explained -- he is married, so style points aren't necessarily a concern.
But Park's numbers have raised an eyebrow for Yankees manager Joe Girardi. In Park's past three relief appearances -- against the Phillies, Mets and D-backs -- the right-hander has allowed seven hits and five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings, capped by Justin Upton's titanic three-run homer in the eighth inning of Monday's 10-4 Yankees loss.
"I believe that he's going to pitch well, but right now he's scuffling," Girardi said. "You definitely think about it -- how do you get him going? I was hoping last night that he'd have two good innings for us."
Park had enjoyed a good run until that point, reeling off five innings of scoreless, one-hit ball during his previous four June appearances -- so much that Park said he has been toying with a cutter or hard slider, which is tight in his bullpen sessions but hangs sometimes in game situations.
Girardi said the slider Park threw to Upton was "complete missed location," and Park did not dispute it.
"That's just missed location," Park said. "It was up. What can I do? Next time, I'll better execute."
ASU alum Curtis gets first hit in Arizona
PHOENIX -- Colin Curtis played his college ball just up the street from Chase Field, having been drafted by the Yankees in 2007 from Arizona State University, so it was a surreal experience for him to get his call to the Major Leagues and report to a familiar area.
The timing could not have worked out better for the outfielder, who now has a big league hit and two RBIs to call his own. Curtis came in as a pinch-hitter in the Yankees' six-run eighth inning on Tuesday and notched perhaps the most memorable blow of their 9-3 victory over the D-backs.
"It was an amazing feeling getting out there," Curtis said. "We put together a big inning, and to cap it off with the first big league hit, I knew I hit it good and I started running.
"I just took a deep breath and exhaled, standing on second base. I saw all of the guys and let a big smile go across my face. You're playing all your life and you get that first one. It's a really good feeling."
Curtis said that he has a lot of friends in the Phoenix area, and his parents and brother flew into town from Seattle when he was called up on Monday. Curtis said he didn't bother to try to play it cool while standing on second base, allowing a huge smile to cross his face.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi called the scene "a thrill" to watch, and Alex Rodriguez gave Curtis a hug in the dugout, saying, "That kid can hit."
"You always imagine and dream of playing in the big leagues someday, and I think it's kind of cool that the first time is right down the street from where you played college ball," Curtis said.
Posada suits up back-to-back nights
PHOENIX -- Jorge Posada didn't angle his head left as he passed through the clubhouse doors on Tuesday at Chase Field, and he didn't need to. His right foot was telling him that his name would be in the Yankees' starting lineup.
For the first time since he returned from the 15-day disabled list on June 2, Posada was behind the plate in consecutive games, having shown enough improvement coming back from a fractured right foot that the Yankees are confident he will have no further issues.
"It's just a matter of really going out there every day now," Posada said. "Every time I went out there, it felt better and better. Waking up in the morning and not feeling the pain was really encouraging."
The Yankees have spoken optimistically about having Posada catch four of the six games on this West Coast Interleague swing to Phoenix and Los Angeles, with Posada likely to yield the duties to Francisco Cervelli on Wednesday.
Third catcher Chad Moeller was designated for assignment on Monday, another indication of the team's confidence in Posada's health.
"I was hoping we could get [Posada] to back-to-back and play him two out of three in the series if we could," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Posada said that he felt "real good" after catching eight innings in Monday's 10-4 loss to the D-backs, and he has taken certain precautions to avoid injury. He wears a pad when batting right-handed and has installed extra protection on his shin guards when catching.
With nine hits in his past 25 at-bats (.360) entering play on Tuesday, Posada said that he may be finally regaining some of the timing he lost prior to his stint on the DL, which saw the switch-hitter return to big league duty without a rehab assignment.
"I'm still working on things," Posada said. "It's a matter of keeping working. The game is hard enough as it is, but hitting-wise, I'm feeling a little better at the plate. Catching-wise, I'm comfortable."
Derek Jeter "just missed three balls" against D-backs pitching on Monday, according to manager Joe Girardi, who otherwise acknowledged that the captain has had some offensive trouble lately. In Jeter's past six games entering play on Tuesday, he was 3-for-23 (.130) with a double and four walks. ... Robinson Cano collected his 100th hit in his 274th at-bat of the season on Monday. Only three other Yankees have reached the century mark for hits in fewer at-bats since 1973 -- Paul O'Neill (264 at-bats in 1994), Dave Winfield (266 at-bats in '84) and Jeter (267 at-bats in '99).
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.