A-Rod: I feel like crushing

Alex Rodriguez' numbers may not say so -- his five homers and 15 RBI this season are the exact same power numbers Derek Jeter has put up, and Jeter's slugging percentage (.488) is nearly 100 points higher than A-Rod's .399 -- but he insists he feels as good as ever when he goes up to the plate.

"I feel great, that’s the frustrating part,'' he said after the Yankees were shutout, 6-0, by the Royals and Felipe Paulino. "I feel like I’m taking really good swings, I’m seeing the ball well, I feel like I’m going to crush every time. If you ask me before the game, I feel like I’m going to go out and hit three rockets. Every time I go up there, I feel like I’m going to crush.''

But A-Rod is crushing very little these days, although he did have a sixth-inning double that went nowhere.

"It’s very frustrating,'' he said. "We’ve talked about it over and over again. It’s not a lot of fun, obviously, going out and not getting the job done.''

The author of the now-famous "We're tired of tipping our hats to the pitcher quote'' refused to tip his hat to Paulino this time, although the Royals righty handled the Yankees as easily as he did on May 5 in Kansas City.

"I thought we had him on the ropes,'' Rodriguez said. "You look at that (third) inning, we score 2-3 runs there, different ballgame. He comes out and gets two big strikeouts, Raul (Ibanez) hits the ball a country mile, (Alex) Gordon makes a great play. That’s the way things have been going. But you draw up that map nine or 10 times, I think we’d do much better.''

Not lately. But on Tuesday, the Yankees face lefty Luke Hochevar, who they torched for seven runs in 2-1/3 innings on May 6 in KC. "We know we’re capable of doing a lot more, and we will,'' Rodriguez said. "But tomorrow would be a great day to start. ''