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Girardi focused on Roberts' swing, not stats

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NEW YORK -- Brian Roberts may not have the statistics he'd like to see, but he's convinced manager Joe Girardi that he's off to a solid start. The veteran second baseman is batting just .235 in his first 24 games with the Yankees, but Girardi said Roberts' statistics don't necessarily tell the entire story.

"I know the numbers don't necessarily stick out, but if you were to look at all the hard hit balls that he's had, he's swung the bat better than his numbers indicate," said Girardi. "I've had a couple conversations with him, joking about trying to be a little bit smarter where he hits the ball. And it's kind of to get the guy to loosen up a little bit and not put so much pressure on himself."

Roberts spent his entire career with the division-rival Orioles before coming over to the Yankees this winter, and the two-time All-Star is a .278 career hitter. Roberts has been slowed by a litany of injuries over the last few years, and the Yankees just want him to settle in and get comfortable.

"I think sometimes you can look at your numbers and be frustrated as opposed to looking at how hard and how good your at-bats are," said Girardi of early-season statistics. "He can do some good things. I've been pleased with his at-bats. He's not found a way not to hit it at people."

Spencer Fordin 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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