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Thou shall not steal

Thou shall not steal

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BOSTON -- After 11 games, the Yankees haven't been running with the reckless abandon their Spring Training schedule hinted that they might. In fact, they've hardly been running at all.

The Yankees had yet to record a stolen base entering play on Saturday, marking their longest such stretch to begin a season since 1948. That year, the Yankees recorded their first stolen base in the season's 17th game on a double steal by Phil Rizzuto and Tommy Henrich.

New York has attempted just two stolen bases, one by Bobby Abreu and one by Derek Jeter. Yankees manager Joe Girardi admitted that he was surprised to still see a zero in the stolen base column, having advocated aggressive play all spring.

"Some of it is situation and some of it is the teams we're facing," Girardi said. "They've held runners very well. You look at a guy like [Boston's Clay] Buchholz and we didn't have a ton of opportunities, and he holds runners. Clubs hold runners and you just can't send guys blindly."

Leadoff hitter Johnny Damon stole 27 bases for New York last season and, though he has a green light to go whenever he feels like it, Damon said the urge has not struck him overwhelmingly.

"We've been in bad situations of playing on muddy surfaces early in the season," Damon said. "We didn't have perfect situations for us to steal, and we're not going to run just to run. We don't like running into extra outs. Unfortunately, early on in the season, it's been a close call to run or not run."

Jeter tried running on Opening Day against Toronto's battery of Gregg Zaun and Roy Halladay, and Abreu was caught stealing on April 2 by Blue Jays catcher Rod Barajas, attempting to run on A.J. Burnett. The Yankees haven't tried since.

Meanwhile, opponents have swiped 14 bases while facing the Yankees. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other team in the last 40 years to allow at least 14 stolen bases without recording one of their own was the 2003 Blue Jays, who allowed 19 steals before stealing their first base.

"We've had a couple of situations where we probably could have made it," Damon said. "A couple of times in Kansas City, you'd try to break to steal a base and we slipped all over the place. We hardly got on base against the Blue Jays, and the Tampa Bay guys were quick [to the plate].

"Looking back at all of the times I've been on base, I probably could have stolen three bases, but then you have to pick the right pitches. There haven't been too many opportunities."

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

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