A-Rod confident hot streak is on the horizon

A-Rod confident hot streak is on the horizon

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez's statistics haven't approached the levels that the Yankees slugger predicted this spring, but he is confident that a power surge waits right around the corner.

"My numbers are going to be there at the end of the year, there's no doubt about it," Rodriguez said. "The thing is, we've got to put it to work right away because our team needs victories. Our offense and coaches expect a lot from me, and I'll be there."

Rodriguez entered Sunday's series finale riding a streak of 40 at-bats without a home run, having last cleared the fences on May 6 in Kansas City. He was batting .278 with five home runs and 15 RBIs through his first 40 games, owning a .377 on-base percentage.

"I've been working my tail off with [hitting coach] Kevin Long, and I think we're in a good place now," Rodriguez said. "One of the things I'm working on is to improve the ratio of ground balls to fly balls. I've been putting the ball on the ground a little bit too much, and the last two or three days have been much better, so I'm very encouraged."

Rodriguez said that he is "extremely confident" that he is still capable of a big campaign, and added that he feels "100 percent" healthy. Seeing more time at designated hitter could be keeping Rodriguez fresher; manager Joe Girardi has already used him as a DH 11 times.

The 36-year-old heard boos after his third and fourth at-bats in Saturday's 0-for-4 performance, but he was not the lone culprit in New York's 6-5 loss to the Reds. Rodriguez acknowledged the Yankees have shown signs of pressing with runners in scoring position, owning just five hits in their last 55 at-bats with runners at second or third bases entering Sunday.

"As an offense, we have to really just bring it down and focus on scoring at least four runs a game," Rodriguez said. "That's an important benchmark for us. We can't worry about other parts of our game. We have to worry about simplifying, having good at-bats and not trying to do too much."