NEW YORK (AP) With the Yankees a season-high nine games back in the AL East and Carlos Beltran out of the starting lineup because of a leg injury, New York manager Joe Girardi sounds more concerned about a slow start that has turned into a half season of struggles.
After improving to one game over .500 last weekend - their season high was 4-2 in April - the Yankees (37-39) had lost three straight going into Wednesday's game against the Texas Rangers.
''There's a sense of urgency,'' Girardi said. ''As days tick away, you start to run out of time, and you don't want to bury yourself.
''Baltimore is playing extremely well. Boston has run into a few bumps here, but they've played well. Toronto's played well. And so you can't mess around too long and expect to be there.'
Beltran left Tuesday's game in the first inning with a tight right hamstring. Girardi said he was worried and was not sure whether Beltran would be available to pinch hit.
''It's not as sore as it was last night,'' the manager said. ''I don't think I'm going to have Belt tomorrow, either.''
The 39-year-old Beltran is the Yankees' top batter, hitting .297 with 19 homers and 53 RBIs.
''You want to feel good that when you put him out there he's going to be OK,'' Girardi said, ''but in the situation that we're in, you can't necessarily always wait as long as you want.''
Slumping Alex Rodriguez, benched against right-handed starters earlier this week, replaced Beltran as the Yankees designated hitter. New York starts a trip Friday with an interleague series against the Padres - meaning there will be no DH.
''It's probably easy to manage if he's DHing, but we're going to San Diego, so that's a concern,'' Girardi said.
First baseman Mark Teixeira, who started four straight games after coming off the disabled list, was given a night off from the starting lineup.
Girardi said he did not want to start Teixeira in five consecutive games following his knee injury. Rob Refsnyder replaced him at first.
''This kid's had to adapt to a lot: a couple different position changes,'' Girardi said. ''But he's really pushed himself on here because he's made himself more versatile and he gives you really good at-bats and runs the bases well.''