NEW YORK -- When Oswaldo Arcia goes to the plate these days, Ron Gardenhire pictures Bugs Bunny cartoons.
"He's swinging at cartoon breaking balls -- they're there and then they're gone -- and he's swinging," the manager said of his 22-year-old rookie outfielder. "Right now, he's swinging three times at one pitch."
It's understandable, Gardenhire said, "just part of the experience" when you're a rookie. "Right now, he's just not seeing it as well, and your confidence wavers a little bit. He's trying to force it," Gardenhire said. "You can see muscles tighthten up. When he grips the bat, [there's] sawdust coming out of the handle."
That's why Arcia is out of the lineup today for just the second time since June 11. The pressure of a slump is getting so acute, Arcia has struck out seven straight trips to the plate, and 11 of his last 13.
"One thing you don't want to do is let him get too far. You back him off a little bit," Gardenhire said of the day off. "He's part of our future. He's just going through a spell right now."
So are they all, of course, as their .178 batting average with runners in scoring position since June 30 illustrates. They'll try to turn that around today against Phil Hughes.
Caleb Thielbar has returned from his grandmother's funeral, but he cannot be activated from the bereavement list until tomorrow. Since he's not on the roster, he's not allowed in the dugout during the game, so he'll watch from the clubhouse, and be activated after the game.
Here are today's lineups from partly-cloudy but warm Yankee Stadium: