ANAHEIM -- Alex Rodriguez leads all active Major Leaguers in grand slams with 22, one behind Lou Gehrig's all-time record of 23, but he is having difficulty figuring out why his Yankees are struggling with the bases loaded.
The Yankees entered Wednesday hitless in their last 15 at-bats with the bases loaded, including two Robinson Cano strikeouts on Tuesday, and only four big league teams have had less success this season with the bags full.
"I think overall our at-bats haven't been really quality," Rodriguez said. "The one thing is, [pitchers are] the ones that have the pressure. You've got to swing at strikes and take your 'A' swing.
"After that, you do exactly kind of what [Nick] Swisher did last night, and if they make great plays then you tip your cap. But up to that point, we have to do what we do."
Rodriguez said that he didn't know the numbers, but he guessed the Yankees were having more success this year with the bases empty than any other situation.
"I can't speak for everyone and I don't have the stats in my head," Rodriguez said. "But it just seems that if you take a summary of our season, it seems like we've been better with nobody on base. But I may be totally wrong."
He isn't. The Yankees are hitting .151 (8-for-53) with the bases loaded this year; they're batting .280 with no one on, .248 with runners on base and just .223 with runners in scoring position.
"I am somewhat [surprised]," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "At times, we've hit the ball good. We've run into a little bit of everything -- some guys not swinging the bat very well with the bases loaded, guys hitting the ball hard with the bases loaded and making outs.
"It's unfortunate, but we're still OK. Obviously we'd like to be in a little better position than we are right now, but we're OK. We've just got to turn it around."
Referencing a 2009 team meeting in Atlanta that turned the season around toward the World Series, Rodriguez said the Yankees' lineup needs to improve at working as a unit.
"[Getting] on base, I think that's also contagious," Rodriguez said. "One of the things that we talked about in our meeting in '09, we were so good at passing the baton and trusting our teammates. When we do that, we're a much different team."
Yankees right-hander David Robertson (strained left oblique) is scheduled to throw off a mound on Saturday at the club's Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla. Robertson no longer has stiffness in his oblique, according to manager Joe Girardi.
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner (right elbow strain) hit off a tee and took soft toss on Wednesday in Tampa. The next step for Gardner is taking live batting practice and then working into Minor League rehab games. He has not played in a big league game since April 17.
On this date in 1956, Mickey Mantle nearly hit a home run out of Yankee Stadium, as his blast off the Senators' Pedro Ramos strikes the upper-deck frieze in right field. On this date in 1995, Derek Jeter recorded his first career hit, a fifth-inning single off the Mariners' Tim Belcher at the Kingdome.