5/31/2014 1:05 P.M. ET
Yanks not too concerned about early home struggles
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Yankees have enjoyed a run of dominance in their own building since the new Yankee Stadium opened for business in 2009, but victories have been in shorter supply at home for the Bombers this season.
New York entered play on Saturday one game below .500 at home, owning an 11-12 record.
"I think it's a fairly small sample size. I wouldn't make too much of it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously, it's important that we play better at home, and it's important that you take advantage of your home ballpark and the way your team is built. So far we haven't as much as we should have."
Coming off Friday's 6-1 loss to the Twins, scoring more runs is an obvious priority.
"It seems like throughout the course of the year we always have these little streaks," Derek Jeter said. "Every team has these streaks when you're not doing what you would like to do.
"All you can do is keep battling. That's about it. For the most part, I think we've been playing all right, but there's always room for improvement and scoring runs is one of them."
The Yankees have been well above the break-even mark in each of their first five seasons calling the facility home, beginning with the World Series championship season of '09, when they went 57-24 (.703) during the regular season.
Overall, the Yankees came into this season owning a 258-147 (.637) regular-season record at Yankee Stadium, and their opponents do not seem to expect those struggles in the building to continue for long.
"It's a tough place to play," Twins outfielder Josh Willingham said. "They're tough at home and always have been."
Pineda has setback, scratched from next outing
NEW YORK -- Michael Pineda's journey back to the big leagues will take longer than initially anticipated, as the Yankees right-hander is continuing to feel discomfort in a muscle behind his right shoulder.
Manager Joe Girardi said that Pineda reported an issue after playing catch on Friday and was flown to New York, where an MRI revealed inflammation near the teres major muscle in his upper back. That prompted the Yankees to scratch Pineda from an intrasquad outing in Tampa, Fla., that had been scheduled for Sunday.
"He's got some inflammation still in that area and he'll be shut down for a little bit of time here, and then we'll try to get him going again," Girardi said. "It's not the news we wanted, but it's what we're dealing with."
The Yankees had hoped to have Pineda rejoin their big league rotation in June. Acquired from the Mariners in a January 2012 trade, Pineda has made just four starts for New York, all of them coming in April of this season. He was 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA in those outings, which included an April 23 game at Fenway Park in which he was ejected for having pine tar on his neck.
"I believe he'll get healthy and he'll be extremely productive for us, but we've got to get him back," Girardi said. "That's the thing. He's going to be shut down for a while, and then we'll try it again."
With help from Long, Ellsbury busts out of slump
NEW YORK -- Ten days have passed since Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long squinted into a video screen at Chicago's Wrigley Field, searching for a hitch in Jacoby Ellsbury's swing that might have been responsible for the outfielder's offensive funk.
After searching frame by frame footage for about 45 minutes, Long said that he discovered Ellsbury's bat was wrapping slightly behind his helmet, creating some unwanted length in Ellsbury's swing.
"It was very difficult [to spot]," Long said then. "Everything looked pretty similar to what he was doing earlier."
The tip seems to have registered. Ellsbury has at least one RBI in six of his last seven games since May 23, batting .286 (8-for-28) with a double and a home run, coming out of a stretch that saw him go a career-long 16 games without an RBI.
"He's swinging the bat better. It's just what happens," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "This guy is a very good hitter and you're not going to keep him down forever. He just went through a funk and he's out of it."
-- Carlos Beltran (bone spur in right elbow) took batting practice for the third consecutive day on Saturday and reported no issues. He is scheduled to hit again on Sunday and could be cleared for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment if all goes well.
-- Kelly Johnson was back in the lineup on Saturday, and Girardi said that he has seen better at-bats from the infielder, who had six hits in his last 33 trips. Girardi said that he also is hoping Johnson, who had four homers this season, can take advantage of Yankee Stadium's friendly right-field porch.