Pregame notes: Long ball dry spell


OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Yankees have not hit a home run in a week. The last time they left the ballpark during a game was the third inning of last Thursday's game in Seattle, a stretch of five games, and perhaps not coincidentally, they have lost three of those games.

How bad a streak is this?

The last time a Yankees team went five games without a home run was 1997. If they fail to homer today, it will be the first time since 1996 that they went homerless in six games. In addition, it will be the first time in 23 years that the Yankees went six straight games on the road without hitting a home run. The Yankees are 8-16 this year in games in which they fail to hit a home run.

The team that led all of baseball with 245 home runs last year finds itself smack in the middle of the pack this year, with 70 home runs; the Atlanta Braves lead all of MLB with 89, the Baltimore Orioles top the AL with 88.

Among the leading culprits: Jayson Nix (no home runs since April 7, a stretch of 163 at-bats); Ichiro Suzuki (May 10, 99 at-bats), Vernon Wells (May 15, 87 at-bats), Kevin Youkilis (April 9, 67 at-bats) and Lyle Overbay (May 25, 30 at-bats). Mark Teixeira hit the last Yankees home run, which directly followed a home run by Robinson Cano on June 6.

In an attempt to get more juice out of his lineup, Joe Girardi shuffled the deck slightly, moving Nix up to second, slotting Cano in at third, moving Teixeira into the cleanup spot and dropping Wells to seventh.

"I'm just trying to break up the lefties here," Girardi said. "They have three lefties [in the Oakland bullpen], and Texy allows you to do it a little bit more. We like the at-bats that Nixy is having, so we’re going to do it."

In other news:

-- Derek Jeter was scheduled to see the ankle specialist in Charlotte, N.C. today, but Girardi had yet to receive a report on how the exam went. We should know more after the game.

-- Francisco Cervelli, out with a broken right hand, has played some catch and caught some bullpen sessions but has yet to swing a bat.

-- Eduardo Nunez (oblique strain) is still on dry swings. No word on a possible timetable for him to increase activity.

-- Curtis Granderson (broken hand) is about a month behind Cervelli. Girardi could not say whether either might return before the All-Star break, now about a month away.

-- Mariano Rivera was to be honored by the A's organization in a home plate ceremony before the game. He has yet to appear in either of the first two games of this series.

-- Pitching matchups for the three-game weekend series against the Angels in Anaheim: Andy Pettitte (5-3, 3.82) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (4-5, 4.05) on Friday; David Phelps (4-3, 3.90) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (3-2, 4.12) on Saturday; CC Sabathia (6-5, 4.07) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (1-2, 3.77) on Sunday.