CINCINNATI -- Boone Logan made two throws to first base after being called into Monday's game, then reared back and fired a fastball that collided with Joey Votto's back.

That was the end of Logan's outing, lifted after one pitch in favor of Mariano Rivera, who allowed a couple of inherited runs to score before closing out a 5-3 Yankees victory over the Reds.

It has been that sort of year for Logan, who has struggled at his assigned task, to get left-handed hitters out. Lefties are hitting Logan at a .300 (12-for-40) clip, with a .391 on-base percentage.

"I think it's consistency of strikes -- getting ahead of hitters is important for all pitchers," manager Joe Girardi said. "And it comes down to location, that's the bottom line."

Girardi largely excused Logan's outing on Monday, pointing out that he hadn't pitched since June 12 against the Indians, making it difficult to remain sharp.

"It's been tough for him this year," Girardi said. "He had a little streak where he had a good streak going and then he ran into a little trouble, but we need him and that's the bottom line."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would have interest in an upgrade in the lefty specialist department, even as the team has paid major dollars to a pair who may not throw a single pitch in 2011, Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte.

With both pitchers only playing catch and neither a guarantee to return, one name to know is Randy Flores, a 35-year-old veteran who has a 1.46 ERA in 13 appearances at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Flores was also 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA at Triple-A Tucson in the Padres chain this year.

Yankees want Gardner to make use of speed

CINCINNATI -- Most of the facets of Brett Gardner's game are rounding into form, as the outfielder has found a nice groove offensively and is getting on base much more often for the Yankees these days.

Yet once Gardner gets on the basepaths, he has seemed a little trigger-shy to use his greatest weapon of all -- his speed. Gardner acknowledges he might have been a bit too tentative of late, something he'll look to fix.

"I think I got thrown [out] a few times earlier on and I had some bad luck at it," Gardner said. "I probably just got a little too timid. For the most part, I've felt good and I've been healthy and my legs have felt good.

"I've gotten some good jumps, too, so there's really no excuse for it. If I just stay aggressive, it'll work itself out."

Gardner has 14 steals, but he has been caught a Major League-leading 10 times, though he is quick to point out some of those numbers are skewed by being gunned down on hit-and-runs and pick-offs, as well as a few bad calls.

  • 131 wins
  • 121 wins
"I definitely haven't run as much as I should, and when I have, I haven't had the success rate that I had in the past, that I should be having," Gardner said. "It's a part of the game and something that I really can't get much worse at as the season goes on. So I think it's only uphill."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the team has encouraged Gardner not to give up on his wheels and keep an aggressive mindset on the bases.

"We talked about it, and I said, 'Getting thrown out is part of it,'" Girardi said. "Rickey Henderson was thrown out over 300 times. That's all part of it. You're going to get picked off sometimes. You're going to take a chance against lefties and it's going to happen. Don't shut it down. We want you to run."

Bombers bits

• Rafael Soriano played catch on Tuesday at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., and reports were good. Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte are continuing to play catch.


 • Eduardo Nunez was out of the Yankees' posted lineup before Tuesday's rainout, replaced at shortstop by Ramiro Pena, but he will likely play on Wednesday. Manager Joe Girardi said that he wanted to rest Nunez after playing him seven days in a row.

• Girardi said that Andruw Jones reported no problems with his left ankle, which the outfielder said he rolled while swinging during a third-inning at-bat on Monday.