Joe Girardi: Brian McCann's numbers will be fine

Brian McCann of the Yankees reacts after popping

Brian McCann of the Yankees reacts after popping out with a man on third in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on June 22, 2014. (Credit: Mike Stobe)

Any struggling player for the Yankees knows the slings and arrows of outrageous critics. But manager Joe Girardi Sunday had a full-throated answer to less-than-glowing evaluations of catcher Brian McCann, the offseason free-agent acquisition with a five-year, $85-million contract.

A .274 lifetime hitter who averaged more than 20 home runs in eight full seasons with the Braves, McCann entered Sunday night's game hitting .224, which Girardi acknowledged is "kind of glaring."

"But some of the important numbers, he's doing a pretty good job at," Girardi said. "He has 36 RBIs , and we're not even at the halfway point."

More importantly, Girardi said, McCann -- while learning a new league -- has done a good job handling a pitching staff that lost three of its original five starters to injury.

As a former catcher who also changed leagues, Girardi can identify. "My first month and a half was pretty rough," he said. Then he put into practice the advice to "just be who you are; don't try to be something else . . . Brian's going to be a very, very good Yankee for a long time, and his numbers will be where they're supposed to be."

 

Session for CC

Girardi said CC Sabathia (knee inflammation) will throw a bullpen session at the Stadium Monday. Michael Pineda (shoulder) has been playing catch, but his return is further in the future.

 

Speed baseball

The Yankees and Red Sox completed the first two games of their series in 2:42 and 2:47 -- a drastic reduction in playing time for the rivals. They had not had such brief back-to-back games since April 2001. Sunday night's game required 3:38.

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