8/31/2013 1:01 P.M. ET
Yanks' bullpen doing shutdown work in August
By Josh Vitale / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- With some members of their starting rotation struggling in August, the Yankees have needed their bullpen to be extra stout late in games. And it has.
The Yankees' bullpen entered Saturday with a Major League-best 1.05 ERA since Aug. 16, allowing just five runs over 42 2/3 innings while compiling a 3-0 record and five saves.
For the season, the bullpen's 3.19 ERA ranked seventh in the Majors.
"We rely on our bullpen a lot. We try to move the ball around. We've had a lot of guys who have continued to have good years down there," manager Joe Girardi said. "You can start with [Mariano Rivera] then just kind of work your way back. We've gotten contributions from a lot of different guys."
Relievers Joba Chamberlain, David Huff, David Robertson and Adam Warren all have ERAs under 2.50 in the month of August, and Huff's (0.00) and Robertson's (0.71) ERAs this month are both less than 1.00.
In fact, the member of the bullpen with the worst ERA in August is closer Rivera, but he still has five saves despite a 4.22 ERA.
"They've been very good," Girardi said. "Very important to our success."
A-Rod a late scratch with flu-like symptoms
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez was a late scratch from the Yankees' lineup on Saturday with flu-like symptoms.
Rodriguez was playing third base and batting fifth in the original lineup. The Yankees announced the lineup change approximately 45 minutes before the start of Saturday's game against the Orioles.
"He was really sick last night and he played, and I texted him this morning and he said he wanted to try," manager Joe Girardi said. "He did some work in the cage, and then we saw him and he just didn't look good. He was pale. Hopefully tomorrow he's a lot better."
Mark Reynolds -- who was slated to start at first base -- replaced Rodriguez at third, and Lyle Overbay came off the bench to play first.
Rodriguez has hit .280 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in 22 games this season. He was 1-for-4 at the plate with an RBI single in the Yankees' win over the Orioles on Friday.
Reynolds making key adjustments at plate
NEW YORK -- Mark Reynolds has 198 career home runs, and he's tapped his toe before each one of them.
But after some early season struggles and a few recent adjustments, the toe tap is no longer a part of Reynolds' swing.
"Early on when I was over here, even dating back in Cleveland, I was late on a lot of pitches," Reynolds said. "So we looked at video, figured some stuff out, and we're basically trying to get my timing earlier."
Instead of tapping his toe before swinging, Reynolds has worked on getting his foot down earlier in order to speed up his timing.
Reynolds saw results in his two games prior to Saturday's against Baltimore, going 6-for-8 with three doubles and two RBIs. Overall, he entered batting batting .316 with two home runs and seven RBIs over 12 games with the Yankees.
"It's definitely gotten me on time more. I'm able to recognize more pitches, not swing at as many balls, and make better contact," Reynolds said. "So we'll see if I can stay consistent with it and keep swinging well."
Reynolds started at third base and batted sixth against the Orioles on Saturday.
"I've seen him get really hot. He's the kind of guy who can drive in 30 runs in a month," manager Joe Girardi said. "We've just had him for a short period of time. But he made a slight adjustment, we like what we see, and we're going to continue to play him."
• Rosters expand on Sunday, but the Yankees haven't made a final decision on which players they will call up, or even how many. Girardi said he would talk to general manager Brian Cashman and finalize those plans on Saturday night.
• Alfonso Soriano has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball of late, but he's been much more successful as a left fielder than he has as a designated hitter, which is where he will play on Sunday. Soriano entered Saturday batting .262 as a left fielder this season but just .238 as a DH.
"You want him to be able to play every day," Girardi said. "So if you can get him a little time off his feet, you hope that it's helpful."
Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.