OAKLAND, Calif. - Joe Girardi sounded more open to the idea of Stephen Drew spending time on the bench than he had the night before. "I told Stephen to continue to work," said Girardi, who started Jose Pirela at second for a second straight game Sunday. "He's trying to work on some things offensively."
The night before, Girardi said starting Pirela was simply a case of giving Drew a regularly scheduled day off.
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But even as he continued to maintain that Drew has run into bad luck this year -- i.e., hard-hit balls right at the opposition -- there are the inescapable realities of his .157 batting average and .225 on-base percentage.
"I've always said, whenever you play, it's an opportunity to open someone's eyes," Girardi said. "[Pirela] I thought swung the bat pretty good last night and I'm going to run him back out there."
Pirela went 1-for-3 in both games. "I've been happy with what he's done the last two days," Girardi said afterward.
He said of Drew: "I still think this guy's too good of a player not to hit. We've seen him hit a grand slam, we've seen him hit three-run homers, we've seen him impact the baseball. Eventually, it's got to even out."
Pineda faces mentor
The headline pitching matchup of the three-game series in Seattle occurs Monday night when Michael Pineda (6-2, 3.36) faces Felix Hernandez (8-1, 1.91). Pineda will make his first appearance in Seattle since the Mariners traded him before the 2012 season.
The power changeup that has contributed to Pineda's success is a result of advice from Hernandez. "He's the king," Pineda said. "He's great. He's unbelievable on the mound. All pitchers love to see him [pitch].''
And the matchup? Said Pineda, "I want to win it."