Alex Rodriguez hits a home run against the Texas Rangers,...

Alex Rodriguez hits a home run against the Texas Rangers, Saturday, April 17, 2010 at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Getty Images

Michael Young hit a ball off A.J. Burnett Saturday that Burnett thought was going to be one of those new Yankee Stadium rightfield wind tunnel home runs (circa April 2009).

"I didn't see it off the bat," Burnett said. "But I saw it going to right and it sounded loud. I just immediately thought, 'Oh, God.' Then Swish caught it like 30 feet short of the warning track."

When the ball settled into Nick Swisher's glove, Burnett realized something: It's 2010. And the Stadium is not giving up homers the way it did last year.

Yes, it's been only one homestand - six games - but that was the length of last year's season-opening, stadium-debuting homestand, too.

Last April, 25 home runs were hit in those six games - a whopping 4.2 per game. Rightfield, in particular, seemed a lot closer than 314 feet down the line. It quickly became something of a national joke: the $1.5-billion stadium with the Little League dimensions.

This year? Through six games, including Sunday's 5-2 Yankees win over the Rangers, there have been 13 home runs (2.2 per game).

"That's about half as many," Swisher astutely noted.

Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada went deep to right Sunday. Teixeira's first of the season was a high drive into the second deck; Posada's third was a laserlike line drive. Both felt like home runs from the start. That wasn't always the case last year, when pop flies became big flies, especially early.

In 2009, 87 home runs were hit in the stadium's first 23 games - the most ever in the first 23 games of a stadium's existence - though the rate went down as the season went on.

Overall, in 89 games in the regular season and postseason, the stadium yielded 259 home runs, 2.9 per game. There were only three games without a home run; two were in the postseason.

But was that just a one-year thing? Was the whole idea of Yankee Stadium as a homer haven overblown?

"I don't know," Burnett said. "When it's us out there, we try not to worry about it too much. We try not to talk about it too much."

But people are talking about it. Earlier in the week, manager Joe Girardi posited the theory that the nearly completed demolition of old Yankee Stadium across the street might be changing the wind patterns in the new one. But Girardi's degree from Northwestern is in industrial engineering, not atmospheric science, and he was just guessing.

The players are guessing, too. But they are sure the wind has been blowing in, which is the opposite of a year ago.

"It never blew like this the entire [first] month last year," Burnett said. "The whole week it's been like that."

Said Swisher: "There definitely have been wind gusts, and I think it's coming in. I know for a fact I've hit two balls to centerfield that I thought were gone and they were caught on the warning track. I don't know what that means."

Swisher said balls that have been hit foul down the rightfield line are coming back toward the playing field. Brett Gardner said he noticed the same thing on foul balls hit to left - that the wind is pushing the ball back toward the field. That supports another theory: the wind is swirling above the ballpark.

"There's been a couple balls I've seen, balls hit to center, that were hit really hard and just stopped," Curtis Granderson said. "The wind on the ground - Gardner and myself were talking about that - we feel the wind on the ground is different than the wind at the top. The flags blow one way, but on the field, the wind's doing another thing."

Of course, all of this talk about wind could just be hot air. Maybe pitchers are pitching better than they did at this time last season. Maybe hitters aren't squaring the ball up as well as they did in 2009.

Or maybe Gardner, who had three infield hits Saturday and another Sunday, has the right idea on how to beat the new, new Yankee Stadium:

"The wind," he said, "doesn't affect swinging bunts."

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