ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees held a closed-door team meeting for approximately 20 minutes before Wednesday's game against the Rays at Tropicana Field, addressing their recent skid in the standings.
Manager Joe Girardi confirmed the meeting, which began two hours before the team took the field without sole possession of first place in the American League East after 84 consecutive days with the division lead to itself. The Yankees entered their series finale against the Rays tied with the Orioles and 1 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay.
"We're still in first place," Girardi said. "That's the bottom line, and what's going to happen in this division is going to depend on how we're going to play in the next 27 games. I like our club, and I like our team. I believe they're going to get it done."
Girardi declined to say if this was the Yankees' first meeting of the season, but he said that in a typical year, he expects to have three to five meetings.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wouldn't say if he addressed the team, but he said that he is confident the Yankees will be able to turn around their recent bad stretch.
"[I'm confident] because of who we got and what we've got," Cashman said. "This stuff happens. It's not easy when you're going through it, but we're better than the way we're playing recently. We look forward to proving that out. I'm not embarrassed that we're in a pennant race because there's a lot of good teams here."
After the meeting, which was held in an off-limits area of the visitors' clubhouse while the main room was open to the media, several players were laughing and seemingly in good spirits before taking the field for pregame stretching and batting practice.
"They come out every day in a good mood," Girardi said. "Now, I've got to tell you, this group doesn't like to lose and I don't expect them to be happy after we lose a game, but every day they come prepared and they're in a good mood."