Yankees hold team meeting amid slide
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A day after losing sole possession of first place in the AL East the New York Yankees held a team meeting.
''We just wanted to talk about some of the things that we're going through,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday. ''The importance of you going through it, you've been through it, we'll come out of it.''
The Yankees fell into a tie with the Baltimore Orioles atop the division after losing 5-2 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night. On July 18, they had a 10-game lead in the East.
New York had been in first place by itself for 84 consecutive days since June 12 - its longest streak since 2004.
The players have remained positive during the skid.
''They come out every day in a good mood,'' Girardi said. ''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.''
Girardi said the team normally has three to five meetings during the regular season.
In a bit of good news for New York, left-hander Andy Pettitte has thrown to hitters for the first time since breaking his left ankle in late June. Pettitte threw 16 pitches in a simulated game.
''I think I threw the ball well,'' Pettitte said. ''I think I was pushing off full and I almost tried to make it like a game, so it was a good day, I thought. Everyone was pretty excited about my command today.''
Girardi has no date for when Pettitte could rejoin the rotation.
''He was really good,'' Girardi said. ''When you watch some of the swings, the swings weren't the greatest. That tells me his stuff was pretty sharp. He's going in the right direction.''
Pettitte will face hitters again this weekend.
Mark Teixeira, who has missed the last eight games due to a strained left calf, could run the bases on Thursday. Girardi said the earliest the first baseman will return is Saturday.