Scoff if you like, but Brian McCann said after his walk-off home run Sunday that the hitters-only team meeting Thursday morning has helped the Yankees win four in a row.
"We all came together as a team," McCann said after the Yankees' 7-4 win over the White Sox. "[Hitting coach] Kevin Long had some things to say. We've responded really well."
The Yankees have scored 19 runs in the four games since the meeting, an average of 4.75. In their previous nine games, they averaged 2.2.
When asked what was different, McCann said: "Just grinding a little more, I guess. I don't really have the answer for that. It just seems like we're just playing better baseball. I just think we came together as a team and discussed some things. Since then, we've been having better at-bats."
Brett Gardner's only contribution on his 31st birthday was pouring Gatorade on McCann. The Yankees leftfielder was unavailable to play because of a sore right ankle that was heavily taped after the game.
Gardner fouled a ball off the ankle Saturday. X-rays were negative. Gardner said he was "hopeful, but not confident" he could return Monday night.
"I don't know if I'll have him [Monday night]," Joe Girardi said. "He's pretty sore. He hit the ball off his ankle. It was actually almost bloody and swollen."
With Girardi wanting to stay away from Shawn Kelley and Dellin Betances and out of other relievers, winning pitcher David Huff had to face White Sox rookie slugger Jose Abreu with two on and two outs in the 10th. Before the at-bat, Girardi sent pitching coach Larry Rothschild to tell Huff to pitch carefully to Abreu, who has 33 home runs. Huff struck him out looking on a fastball on the outside corner. Huff said he was trying to throw a ball with the pitch, but missed his spot.Extra bases
Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) will throw a simulated game Thursday in Detroit . . . Derek Jeter presented retiring White Sox slugger Paul Konerko with a base signed by the entire Yankees team before the game . . . McCann's home run was the Yankees' first pinch-hit walk-off home run since Jason Giambi hit one against Toronto on June 5, 2008.