TORONTO -- The early part of this second half has carried one common theme for the Yankees' offense: Brett Gardner frequently getting on base and constantly causing havoc.
The Yankees outfielder notched three three-hit games in the four-game series against the Blue Jays, and after starting the season 5-for-11 in steals, he has now stolen 12 straight bases without getting caught, which matches his career-high streak.
Manager Joe Girardi says the biggest difference is simply aggression.
"As a basestealer, you're going to get thrown out," Girardi said. "That's the bottom line. There are times that everything is going to click -- the pitcher's going to be quick, the catcher makes the perfect throw, it's a perfect exchange and a perfect tag, and you're going to be out -- but that can't take away from your aggressiveness."
Gardner is one of the fastest men in baseball, and now he's playing with reckless abandon.
A prime example came on Saturday, when Gardner hit a blooper into shallow center field and took second base once he saw Rajai Davis back up to allow for one more bounce on the turf.
After going 3-for-4 on Sunday, Gardner finished the series against the 10-for-16 with five runs scored and three extra-base hits. He's still tied for the Major League lead by getting caught stealing 10 times, but most of that stems from a sloppy start on the basepaths.
Since May 20, Gardner is 21-for-25 in steals.
"I'm just trying to be aggressive and trying to get in scoring position for the guys behind me," said Gardner, batting .283 with 25 steals on the year.
"I mean, he's an exciting player," Girardi added, "and he's been getting on base and causing problems."
Yankees recall Dickerson, option Golson
TORONTO -- The Yankees recalled lefty-hitting outfielder Chris Dickerson on Sunday to take the place of right-handed-hitting outfielder Greg Golson.
Golson had originally been called up because the Yankees were facing two left-handed starters -- Jo-Jo Reyes and Ricky Romero -- in a three-game stretch against the Blue Jays.
Now, the trend has reversed.
"We're going to see a bunch of right-handers now, and over the last couple of days, we saw some lefties, so we made the change," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Golson made an appearance in the eighth inning of Saturday's 4-1 win but didn't record an at-bat and will now head back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Dickerson has hit .300 with a .364 on-base percentage while appearing in 31 games for the Yankees this year.
Girardi tweaked his lineup for the finale of the four-game series at Rogers Centre.
Derek Jeter had the day off, Eduardo Nunez started in his place at shortstop, Ramiro Pena was at third, Mark Teixeira started as the designated hitter and Jorge Posada got the nod at first base -- his fifth start of the season there.
With low average, Teixeira focuses on timing
TORONTO -- Mark Teixeira's year thus far can best be characterized as bittersweet. The power numbers are up, but the batting average is down -- way down, when considering his career totals.
"It's been one of the most satisfying and frustrating years for me," Teixeira said after Saturday's 4-1 win over the Blue Jays, which saw that batting average dip to .240 after a 1-for-5 day.
The Yankees' first baseman came into Sunday's series finale -- in which he served as the designated hitter -- batting just .160 (4-for-25) with one homer in his last seven games.
Teixeira said he "didn't feel good at all" before the All-Star break but is starting to get a little more comfortable at the plate. Now, it's about being more selective and getting his timing back.
Hitting coach Kevin Long feels that starting Teixeira's swing earlier can help get that timing.
"He's open, and when he opens, he has to get closed [before starting his swing]," Long said about the switch-hitter's stance. "You have to do that early so that you can obviously attack the baseball. If you're late getting there, then you're going to be fighting a battle."
From 2004-09, Teixeira sported a .295 batting average and .385 on-base percentage. Last year, he hit .256 with a .365 on-base percentage. And heading into Sunday's matchup against Carlos Villanueva, those two categories stood 43 and 29 points lower than his career totals, respectively.
Teixeira is on pace to drive in 118 runs and finish with a career-high 45 homers, but it'd be difficult to get that batting average even in the upper .200s by this point. For a guy who normally hits third in the batting order, a low batting average is better than low home run and RBI totals.
But Long still believes Teixeira can hit for a high batting average, even if the last two years don't show that.
"I just think it's a coincidence," Long said about Teixeira, whose on-base percentage was .345 heading into Sunday. "I think he's still capable of hitting for a high average. I think it's just one of those points in the season where you look up right now, he's hitting .240 and there's room for improvement. We'll continue to attack that and see if he can't get that up."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Sunday that third baseman Alex Rodriguez will remain in Miami and away from the team for about another week, since doctors don't want him traveling after Monday's knee surgery. ... Right-hander Rafael Soriano's Tuesday rehab outing will come with the Class A Tampa Yankees, who play the Jupiter Hammerheads at 7 p.m. ET. ... Jorge Posada played in his 1,790th game as a Yankee when he started at first base on Sunday. That moved him past Bill Dickey for sole possession of eighth on the club's all-time games played list. ... The Yankees have now gone three straight games without hitting a home run. That matches a season-high stretch and is one game shy of their longest homerless drought over the last three years.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.