"We need to get [Damon] going, there's no doubt about it," manager Joe Girardi said. "Johnny's a .300 hitter, and we need to get him back there swinging the bat. Johnny's got to get to where he's supposed to be, and I feel the best way to get him where he's supposed to be is by playing him and putting him in the role he's used to. ... Eventually, he'll get going."
But Damon is not the only Yankees hitter scuffling. Second baseman Robinson Cano is hitting .169 and is in a 4-for-24 slump, while first baseman Jason Giambi is batting .109 (5-for-43) this season. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez left Sunday's game in Baltimore with a strained right quadriceps and is day-to-day, while Jorge Posada, sidelined with a right shoulder strain, hasn't been cleared to resume catching.
Before beating the Orioles, 7-1, on Sunday, the Yankees had been outscored, 14-2, in two games. The trip to Chicago marks the second leg of a 10-game, 11-city road trip, part of a stretch of 18 of 20 overall on the road.
"A lot of us have been around for a while, and this is just something we're going through," Damon said. "Not scoring the runs -- it's something that creates a little pressure, but we know what we have to do as an offense. Pitchers know what they need to do. Together, we'll do it as a team."
Three weeks into the season, the Yankees are at .500, not where they expected to be. Shortstop Derek Jeter has been through fast and slow starts during his career, and he said this year's uneven first few weeks aren't necessarily indicative of what's to come.
"Is this a slow start?" Jeter said. "We're better than we were last year, but it's just a start. How many games have we played? We've got 140-some games left, and that's the only way you can look at it. Everybody struggles at some point. At the beginning of the season, I think people pay more attention to it."
Damon said that hitting sometimes takes time to catch up to pitching coming out of Spring Training.
"It's too early for us to [worry]," Damon said. "We'll see where we are a month from now and see if there's any reason to panic."
Girardi agreed: "I think guys are looking for good pitches to hit, and it just hasn't worked out. The law of averages tells you that's going to change as well. Averages will become averages again."
NYY: RHP Chien-Ming Wang (3-0, 3.81 ERA)
Wang is trying to become the first Yankees starter to win his first four decisions since Kevin Brown prevailed in his first five decisions in 2005.
CWS: RHP Jose Contreras (1-1, 4.34 ERA)
Practically unhittable against the Orioles in his last outing despite dealing with diminished velocity, Contreras will need to be on top of his game against his ex-teammates.
Rodriguez is the only Yankees player to start all 20 games this year, so his streak could be in jeopardy. The only other Major Leaguer to make that claim this season is Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who has started each of his club's first 19 games. ... Outfielder Hideki Matsui has hit safely in 15 of his 19 games this year. ... When Wang pitches seven innings, he has gone 32-3 in 42 career starts. ... Girardi said after Sunday's game that he will split rookie right-handers Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy in the rotation. Hughes will start on Thursday in Chicago, but Pettitte will pitch on normal rest and work on Friday in Cleveland, with Kennedy following on Saturday. Girardi hopes that the move takes some pressure off the youngsters and protects the bullpen.
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Wednesday: Yankees (Mike Mussina, 1-3, 5.75) at White Sox (Javier Vazquez, 3-1, 3.20), 8:11 p.m. ET
Thursday: Yankees (Phil Hughes, 0-3, 8.82) at White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 2-0, 1.40), 8:11 p.m. ET
Friday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 3-1, 2.45) at Indians (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET