Notes: Yanks' skid adds to pressure

Notes: Yanks' skid adds to pressure

NEW YORK -- After a 1-7 road trip -- and one suspended game to finish against the Orioles -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman admitted that his seat is a little warm.

No job -- including that of manager Joe Torre, Cashman said -- is safe when the Yankees don't play up to their potential. Yet this hot-seat scenario is no different than when the Yankees were in an April swoon: The team struggles and rumors start flying.

"That puts pressure on people," Cashman said. "It's just a fact, ultimately -- from the front office all the way down through the players. We're better than the way we're playing, and [we're] respective of this, bottom line.

"Our staff is motivated, our manager is motivated, I'm motivated and the players are motivated; we just have to get better results."

Entering play on Friday, the Yankees' record was 36-39, three games under .500. Their frustration from losing steamed during the team's trip to Colorado, then boiled in San Fransisco.

Torre said that the Yankees did everything they could heading into their series with the Rockies. He reminded his players not to go homer-crazy, telling them that singles and doubles at thin-air Coors Field would work just fine. But the Yankees scored just five runs in losing all three games.

Things didn't get any better against the Giants, and the Orioles snatched up a series win under the Yankees' feet in a hurry. On Friday, Torre stressed the importance of his club's current 10-game homestand against the A's, Twins and Angels and a return to the dominance displayed during a stretch in early June in which the Yankees won 14 of 17 games.

"We have to win the games we didn't win on this past trip," Torre said. "Hopefully, we can do that. We're certainly capable of it. We did it for an extended period of time, and that's more than a fluke the way we played."

Yankees captain Derek Jeter said he doesn't worry about the hot-seat speculations -- rumors will always be there.

One thing Jeter did say, however, is that he couldn't imagine playing for a manager other than Torre.

"No, not at all," he said. "And it's not the manager's fault how we're playing. He puts out the best guys and gives us an opportunity to win. He's not responsible for anything that's gone on here."

Igawa back to basics: Since he made his first start for the Class A Tampa Yankees, Kei Igawa has spent more time on the field before games to warm up physically and mentally.

And while his first start back with the Yankees in San Fransisco didn't go as he hoped, Igawa said he believes that his change in routine is for the better.

"Back in April, I tried to do the American style, which was [to] come out on the field a half-hour before the game, but it has not worked out," Igawa said through interpreter Yumi Watanabe. "So what I've tried to do is go back to the basics, the way I did it in Japan, which was go out on the field two or three hours before the game and just warm up."

Igawa said that the extra work doesn't affect his stamina, noting that he was able to throw upward of 130 pitches in Japan after his lengthy pregame routine.

Torre seemed fine with the change of pace for the left-hander, who allowed two runs on five hits but lasted only 4 2/3 innings last Friday against the Giants.

"We're still going to allow that, and take it, and sort of make adjustments if we need to," Torre said. "The fact that when you're in a rotation -- for the most part -- you're going to pitch every five days, it's a little different here than Japan. It may take its toll, but we're just going to have to take it a start at a time and just see how comfortable he is and how comfortable he looks."

Small steps: Jason Giambi made a brief appearance at Yankee Stadium prior to Friday's game, and the slugger is set to have another scan next week to determine how quickly he is recovering from a partially torn plantar fascia in his left heel.

Giambi had been wearing a protective boot on his left foot since May 31, but he said that he had it removed on Monday. There is no timetable for Giambi's return, and The Associated Press reported that he could miss the rest of the season.

Old-Timers' Day announced: The Yankees announced on Friday that Old-Timers' Day will be held on Saturday, July 7, prior to the club's game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The game will pay homage to the 30th anniversary of the 1977 World Series championship club, with several members and relatives of prominent figures on that team scheduled to be in attendance.

Some of the members of the 1977 club scheduled to attend are Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Graig Nettles and Chris Chambliss. They will be joined by Diana Munson, widow of Thurman Munson; Helen Hunter, widow of Catfish Hunter; and Billy Martin Jr., son of Billy Martin.

Introductions will begin at 1:50 p.m. ET, followed by the contest against the Angels at 3:55 p.m. ET.

Pope signs: On Thursday, the Yankees inked third-round Draft pick Ryan Pope, the team's highest pick to sign. Pope is a right-handed pitcher from Savannah College of Art and Design. Right-hander Andrew Brackman and catcher Austin Romine, the Yankees' first- and second-round picks, respectively, have yet to sign. The Yankees have signed 22 of the 50 players they drafted.

Bombers bits: Right-hander Phil Hughes, making his way back from a strained left hamstring and a sprained left ankle, threw a bullpen session on Friday in Tampa, Fla., Cashman said. ... Right-hander Jeff Karstens also threw batting practice at the club's Legends Field training facility.

Coming up: Igawa (2-1, 7.13 ERA) will set out to prove that his time spent in the Minor Leagues did him some good -- and that his start in San Francisco was just a hiccup -- as the left-hander faces Chad Gaudin (6-3, 3.14 ERA) and the Athletics at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.