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07/12/08 1:18 AM ET

Rasner to test new mechanics vs. Jays

New York (49-44) at Toronto (46-47), Saturday, 1:07 p.m. ET

TORONTO -- Although Darrell Rasner has struggled to maintain his early-season success, the Yankees starter believes that he may have discovered the root of his recent problems on the mound.

The right-hander started the year by winning his first three starts, posting a 1.89 ERA in the process. Since then however, his season has taken a turn for the worse.

Over Rasner's past eight starts, he is 1-7 with a 6.28 ERA.

"I try not to really think about those negative things," Rasner said, referring to his bad stretch. "Yeah, there are some negative things that I wish didn't happen, but I take the positive from every start, and I try to build off of those."

Rasner said that playing catch in recent days, he learned that there was something wrong with his mechanics. Now, having made the proper adjustments -- shortening his pitching motion -- he believes he should have better command of his pitches.

"I was playing with it a little [on Thursday], and playing catch, [the ball] was coming out of my hand [the right way]," Rasner said. "It's been a while since it's come out of my hand right. I feel like I made some ground.

"The ball coming out of the hand is everything to me," Rasner continued. "It's not going to show up on the radar gun. It's not that, but when it comes out of my hand right, it has a little more life and a little more depth. That's what I'm looking for."

Rasner will look to test his findings against the Blue Jays on Saturday in the second of a three-game series against at Rogers Centre.

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Darrell Rasner (4-7, 4.94 ERA)
In his only career start against Toronto, Rasner allowed three runs in six innings to collect the win.

TOR: RHP Jesse Litsch (8-5, 4.01 ERA)
In four career starts against the Yankees, Litsch is 1-2 with a 6.27 ERA.

Manager Joe Girardi said on Friday that he injured outfielder Johnny Damon (strained left shoulder) is making good progress, and that the team still expects him to return on July 20. ... Yankees pitchers have now tossed quality starts in six straight games. ... Alex Rodriguez has hit safely in 37 of his 49 games since returning form the disabled list. He also has an 11-game hit streak.

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Up next
• Sunday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 10-6, 3.93) at Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett, 9-8, 5.23), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Monday-Thursday: All-Star break

David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.