Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Yankees [Print without images]

Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Notes: Girardi bristles, Hafner fizzles

By Wallace Matthews

Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano tied Thurman Munson for 18th place on the all-time Yankee hit list on Tuesday. He also struck out with a man on second and two out in the eighth to snuff out the Yankees' last real chance to tie the game.
NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi was asked after Tuesday night's 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals if he felt as if the Yankees needed to add a bat at the trade deadline.

Here was his response: "That’s something that remains to be seen. I'm asked that question on a yearly basis. What you’re asking me to do is to put down the guys in that room. I’ll never do that."

When the question was put to him another way -- "Do you still believe the answers to your team's problems are in your clubhouse?" -- Girardi said this: "I feel like these guys can get it done. I'll always believe in them. That’s the bottom line. That’s who I am. I believe that we can get it done. We’re going to have to score some more runs, there’s no question about that but I believe we can do that."

Loyalty is an admirable trait. Blind loyalty is something else again.

• Yankees DH Travis Hafner struggled through another horrendous night, striking out in all three of his official at-bats, once with runners at first and third in the first inning and again leading off the ninth. His fall from grace has been stunning -- from .318 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in April to .181 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in the two and a half months since -- and Girardi said before the game the thought of replacing him in the lineup has never crossed his mind, probably because he has no real alternative.

Hafner, for his part, said the shoulder injury he suffered in mid-May, which required a cortisone shot, was not the reason for his decline, although he conceded it may have messed up his mechanics for a brief time.

Instead, he ascribed his struggles to inconsistency. "At times I feel great up there," he said. "But I'm not able to keep it going on a consistent basis."

That's where Hafner is wrong. Since May 1, he's been consistently awful.

Brett Gardner snapped a couple of negative streaks Tuesday night. For the first time in 16 games, he didn't strike out, having already made the Yankees' all-time record for consecutive games with at least one whiff his very own in Monday's 5-1 loss. And his bunt single leading off the Yankees' first inning also snapped an 0-for-16 skid that began over the weekend against the Orioles. He also scored the only Yankees run of the game, his 49th of the season, to pull within one of team-leader Robinson Cano.

• Cano picked up his 1,558th hit as a Yankee with his first-inning RBI single, which tied him for 18th place on the all-time Yankee hit list with Thurman Munson. Cano did not appear in the postgame clubhouse to discuss the milestone. Or, for that matter, his strikeout with a man on second and two out in the eighth which snuffed out the Yankees' last real chance to tie the game.

• Royals starter James Shields, who did not allow a hit aqfter the second inning and retired the last 13 Yankees he faced, won at Yankee Stadium for the first time May 20, 2010, as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. Shields' lifetime record against the Yankees improved to 3-9.