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First-year Yankees not the problem early on

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DETROIT -- If you had predicted that Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells would all be productive and the Yankees would still lose four out of their first five games, Joe Girardi said he wouldn't have believed you.

It's the reality the Yankees are trying to figure out as they prepared for Sunday's series finale against the Tigers in Detroit, but at least they have seen most of their first-year Yankees step in as a contributing force in their reassembled lineup.

Those three veterans, plus Lyle Overbay, Ben Francisco and Brennan Boesch, have combined to hit .293 (22-for-75) with 11 runs scored, four doubles, a triple, four homers and 12 RBIs in New York's five games.

"It's a team game," said Hafner, who entered play Sunday hitting .313 with a homer. "We win as a team and lose as a team. Overall I think we've swung the bats OK. We've just got to play a little bit better."

The Yankees have said that their main concern is straightening out their pitching staff after the sluggish start, and Hafner said that he does not buy into the theory that a team needs a little extra time to become accustomed to playing together.

"Baseball is a lot of individual battles. When you're up to the plate you're by yourself, and on the mound you're kind of by yourself," Hafner said.

"I can see for like double-play combinations, as far as the team jelling and stuff like that, but we've got guys who have been around a long time. It's a good clubhouse. It seems like everybody knows everybody from somewhere before."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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