08/25/12 7:30 PM ET
Swisher rewarding Yanks for bump to No. 2 spot
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Swisher entered play on Saturday having batted .358 (24-for-67) with 16 runs, five doubles, five homers and 17 RBIs over his last 17 games since Aug. 7, heating up just as the Yankees prepare for a playoff push.
"I feel like I'm just trying to go up there and have quality at-bats," Swisher said. "You feel like you're really into the game in that spot. [Derek Jeter] has been getting on base a lot lately. ... You're just trying to move him over or drive him in, one of the two, and I've been feeling pretty good, so I'm just trying to go out there and just do my thing."
Five of Swisher's last seven home runs, and six of his last 10, have given the Yankees a lead. The Ohio State product owns a 14-game hitting streak at Progressive Field dating back to Sept. 2, 2008.
"He's been really good [hitting second]," manager Joe Girardi said. "Swish is a really good hitter, and he's had a really strong month for us."
Yanks surprised to see Sox overhaul roster
CLEVELAND -- Russell Martin's immediate impression of the blockbuster nine-player deal between the Red Sox and the Dodgers was that it will be good for Major League Baseball's pace-of-game procedures.
"We're just not going to have as many four-hour games with Josh Beckett not throwing," the Yankees' catcher said, with a grin. "That's good."
The Yankees seemed as surprised as anyone by the deal, which was consummated on Saturday and sent Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers.
Boston received first baseman James Loney, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., right-hander Allen Webster and two players to be named in the swap.
"It's surprising," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You're not used to seeing that many big names go in one trade -- a bunch of All-Stars, guys that have been in World Series and played at a very high level. You're not used to seeing that many people change teams."
Martin, who played with the Dodgers before joining the Yankees last year, said the trades are an indication that the front-office mindset is changing in Los Angeles under a new ownership group.
"I don't think anything would ever happen like that before," Martin said. "It's a lot of money being thrown around there. It's saying the Dodgers are serious. They want to go after it this year. It would be kind of cool to have an L.A.-New York World Series. For me, it would be."
Yankees reliever Derek Lowe, who has played in both Boston and Los Angeles, said that the wholesale changes in the Red Sox clubhouse may not be a quick fix for all of the turmoil that has surrounded Fenway Park this summer.
"Now, everybody is going to be coming to them saying, 'Hey, were they the No. 1 reason why you guys weren't winning?'" Lowe said. "Somebody may say something along the way. It's going to be an interesting five weeks."
The Yankees have two series remaining with the Red Sox. Though Boston is not competing for a playoff spot and the club will look much different for the Sept. 11-13 series in Boston and the Oct. 1-3 season-ending set in New York, Girardi said he still expects those games to be worth watching.
"I always feel that there's intensity, and I always say that a lot of it has to do with the fans," Girardi said. "The players understand those are important games. The Red Sox who have been around the club have the opportunity to knock us off, so I still think that it takes on a great big rivalry."
Sessions get Pettitte closer to game shape
CLEVELAND -- Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte threw the equivalent of two 20-pitch innings on flat ground and long-tossed at Progressive Field on Saturday as he continues to eye a September return.
Pettitte could be cleared to increase his physical activity on Monday. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the Yankees may have to simulate a game for Pettitte when the time comes, because the calendar is running out of Minor League games.
"I don't know if it'll be at the Minor League level," Girardi said. "We might have to make it up. We might need some hitters. Grab a bat."
Girardi added that Pettitte would need to appear in a Major League game before the club would consider carrying him on a potential postseason roster.
CC Sabathia reported no problems with his left elbow after turning in 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball in New York's 3-1 victory over the Indians on Friday.
"That's really positive," Girardi said. "Obviously, it's important that he stays feeling good. You want him to be able to do his side session [Sunday] and come out of that feeling good, but that's really positive."
The Yankees have listed right-hander David Phelps as their scheduled starter for Monday's game against the Blue Jays in place of Ivan Nova. Phil Hughes and Sabathia will start on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Alex Rodriguez has resumed swinging a bat with both hands, Girardi said, and the third baseman can also graduate to hitting off a tee and soft-toss pitching.
On this date in 2011, the Yankees became the first team to hit three grand slams in a game, as Robinson Cano, Martin and Curtis Granderson did so in a 22-9 rout of the Athletics.