TORONTO -- Alfonso Soriano is off to a slow start this season, having gone hitless in his first 17 at-bats for the Yankees before a fifth-inning single against the Blue Jays on Sunday, but the slugger said that he is not allowing the drought to enter his mind.
"I know who I am," Soriano said. "When I get my first hit, I'll be OK."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi is sticking by Soriano, who batted fifth and served as the designated hitter on Sunday. Soriano said that he has been able to get out of funks like this one in the past.
"The last couple of years, I started slow," Soriano said. "It's only like four games, so it's nothing that I have to rush. I've got plenty of time to recover. It's nothing to worry [about]. I just feel more comfortable at home plate every day."
Soriano went hitless in four at-bats during Saturday's 4-0 loss to the Blue Jays, including a swinging strikeout in the eighth inning against Sergio Santos that left two men on.
"I saw the ball good, and I hit the ball good a couple of times [Saturday]," Soriano said. "That's most important for me. If I hit the ball good, sooner or later, my first hit is going to come."
Yanks would trust Cervelli at first in a pinch
TORONTO -- Francisco Cervelli swapped his catcher's mitt for a first baseman's glove on Sunday morning, taking some ground balls on the artificial turf at Rogers Centre.
Cervelli has never played first base, but with regular first baseman Mark Teixeira on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has tossed Cervelli's name into the mix as a backup to Kelly Johnson.
"I catch ground balls everywhere, because I'm, like, the 26th man," Cervelli said. "If anybody got hurt, we don't want that, [but] I've got to do it. If he asks me to play, I'll play."
Girardi said that he could also use infielders Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte at first base, but he does not consider catcher Brian McCann or outfielder Alfonso Soriano to be options there at this time.
For Girardi, Cervelli fits the bill because he has shown the ability to be an emergency infielder. Cervelli has appeared in four games at third base and two games at second base during his big league career. He played an inning at second base last season.
"Cervy has taken a lot of ground balls, and he has played infield before; not recently, but he has played infield before," Girardi said. "He takes a lot of ground balls. He looks pretty competent at it."
Girardi seeks clarification on rule from Torre
TORONTO -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he called his predecessor, Joe Torre, after Saturday's 4-0 loss to the Blue Jays to seek clarification regarding an umpire-reviewed play at home plate.
Torre, now Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, told Girardi that they could discuss the issue more later this week. Girardi disagreed with a third-inning play in which the Yankees' Francisco Cervelli was tagged out by Toronto catcher Josh Thole.
The new Rule 7.13 requires that catchers provide a pathway for baserunners to approach home plate. Girardi believes that because Thole was straddling home plate without the ball, he should have been in violation of the rule and that the Yankees should have been awarded a run.
"I think there's still confusion to the rule," Girardi said. "I think it was a rule that was agreed to and brought upon late, and I don't know if everything has been completely ironed out with it. In my mind, it hasn't, because of what happened yesterday."
The experimental rule, intended to increase player safety by eliminating "egregious" collisions at home plate, was jointly announced by MLB and the Players Association in late February. Girardi would like to see further clarification about exactly what constitutes a catcher blocking home plate.
"I think the spirit of the rule is great, and I think the idea behind the rule is great," Girardi said. "I think it's just going to take some time to get used to."
• The Yankees fielded a new-look lineup on Sunday, with Brett Gardner leading off and Jacoby Ellsbury hitting third. Girardi said that the lineup was a result of wanting to give Carlos Beltran a day off.
• On this date in 1973, the Yankees' Ron Blomberg became the first designated hitter in Major League history. Batting in the bottom of the first inning at Fenway Park, Blomberg worked a bases-loaded walk from Luis Tiant and finished the day 1-for-3. The Yankees lost to the Red Sox, 15-5.