Notes: Abreu pushed down to No. 7

Notes: Abreu pushed down to No. 7

NEW YORK -- The Yankees hope that a lineup relocation will serve as the tonic that cures Bobby Abreu, who has been slumping in his duties as the team's No. 3 batter.

Yankees manager Joe Torre pulled Abreu aside on Tuesday and told him that the lineup would be shuffled, moving Abreu down in the order to serve as the No. 7 hitter. Designated hitter Jason Giambi assumed the task of batting in front of Alex Rodriguez.

"His at-bats aren't as good as he's capable of," Torre said. "Not that he's not trying, but he just doesn't look very comfortable up there right now."

Abreu entered Tuesday's game against the Rangers batting .256 with one home run and 17 RBIs, but Abreu said that a primary concern has been his production with runners in scoring position.

In those situations, Abreu is batting .250 (10-for-40). He batted .327 (50-for-135) under the same circumstances in 2006.

"I haven't hit good right now with runners in scoring position," Abreu said, "and I think [Torre] is going to [go with] somebody right now who can do the job so far so we can win some games."

Torre said that the move is expected to be short-term, perhaps for one or two games.

"He's perfect at No. 3 in our lineup, but he's fighting himself right now," Torre said.

Abreu, who had 11 hits in his last 64 at-bats before Tuesday, said he was looking to hit the ball to the opposite field more to help regain his rhythm.

Twice in recent weeks, Abreu bunted on his own, which led Torre to speculate that Abreu might be looking to help the club despite a lack of confidence, but Abreu said there were no problems with his mental approach.

"Hitting third and seventh to me is pretty much the same," Abreu said, "because you don't know how the game is going to be, or how the situation of the game is going to be. I think my mind is fine."

Mo problems: Physically, Mariano Rivera claims he feels good -- better, in fact, than he would have admitted to just a few years ago.

Then how to explain his early struggles in 2007, which swelled his ERA to an unsightly 8.44 following Monday's loss to the Mariners?

Rivera said he is taking a philosophical route as he contemplates his early rough patch, which was accentuated most recently by Adrian Beltre's solo home run with two outs in the ninth inning on Monday.

"I take it the way it is," Rivera said. "I take the bumps with the victories. It tests my character, testing my faith. I don't know what it is, but it's a test. I'm up for it."

Rivera said that the Beltre home run was more a product of poor pitch location than an ineffective cutter, but he acknowledged that pitchers can usually point to a mistake or two that they can get away with.

Those have been few and far between for Rivera, who also surrendered a game-winning home run to Marco Scutaro in Oakland on April 15 and blew a save at Fenway Park on April 20.

"Sometimes, you make a mistake and they miss it," Rivera said. "These are not those times."

Yanks have liftoff: Roger Clemens completed his first official workout at the University of Kentucky campus on Tuesday, throwing for more than an hour at Cliff Hagen Stadium in Lexington, Ky.

"The arm feels good," Clemens told The Associated Press. "Right now, I've just got to get that soreness that every pitcher understands. I've got to get it in my legs and out as quick as possible so that I know I can handle the stress of a Major League game."

It has been speculated that Clemens, 44, will need somewhere between two and four Minor League appearances before he is capable of pitching in the Majors. He is expected to make an appearance with the Yankees next week in Chicago, according to ESPN.

"It's nice to know you have something coming," Torre said.

The Yankees' June 1-3 series at Boston would appear to be a realistic projection. Torre said that preparation would certainly not be an issue with Clemens, who completed his re-introductory press conference on Sunday and promptly went out to throw a bullpen session in an empty Yankee Stadium.

"He's so organized," Torre said. "He's champing at the bit, ready to go, but he knows what it's going to take."

(No) beer here: The Yankees have joined the Athletics as clubs that have banned alcoholic beverages in both their home and visitors' clubhouses.

The Yankees have not permitted alcohol in their home clubhouse for several years, but beverages were present in the visitors' clubhouse at the beginning of the 2007 season. The circumstances involving the death of Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock earlier this month influenced the change.

"If something happens, you certainly go by way of it being the safer out," Torre said.

Torre said that he did not endorse players drinking at the stadium, but he noted that attitudes toward alcohol consumption among players have changed in the last 40-50 years.

Torre recalled visiting his brother, Frank, in clubhouses in the 1950s and seeing only beer -- not even food -- as an available option. In the modern game, Torre said that players in some cities might have a beer with a postgame meal, but the great majority of players instead opt to leave the stadium as soon as possible.

"Years ago, they used to sit and just talk about the game," Torre said. "These players are out. Even if beer was available, I don't think they would be able to drink enough to impair them in the clubhouse."

Welcome back: YES Network broadcaster Bobby Murcer returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time since April 2 on Tuesday, and he will be performing his on-air duties for the series against the Rangers.

Murcer, 60, is continuing his fight against brain cancer and remains in good spirits. He broadcast the Yankees' series against the Rangers last week in Arlington, Texas.

Coming up: The Yankees and Rangers will play the second game of three on Wednesday, with right-hander Mike Mussina (1-1, 5.73 ERA) drawing the assignment for New York. Right-hander Robinson Tejeda (3-2, 3.89 ERA) will counter for Texas, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.