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06/20/10 12:38 PM ET

Chances for redemption lie out West

Their teams may be in vastly different situations, but the D-backs' Rodrigo Lopez and Yankees starter A.J. Burnett have one thing in common: they've both turned in some forgettable starts of late.

With their eyes on righting the ship, the two will take the hill for their respective teams in the opener of a three-game series at Chase Field on Monday.

Burnett, who was saddled with his third consecutive loss last Wednesday against the Phillies, has an ERA of 9.00 over his past three outings. Burnett's inability to locate his fastball in key situations has been the issue of late and cost him against Philadelphia.

"We couldn't get on the same page," catcher Jorge Posada said. "I wanted him to establish his four-seamer and it seemed like he was falling behind on some of the hitters."

But Yankees manager Joe Girardi stood behind his hurler, even when he had to remove him from the game before the fourth inning was done Wednesday.

"[Girardi] grabbed me and said, 'Hey, we're going to fix this. Keep your head up,'" Burnett said. "That's what I plan on doing. I don't feel sorry for myself. I don't make excuses. It's time to go to work and start doing what I'm supposed to be doing."

Lopez's struggles, on the other hand, go back a bit further than Burnett's. The right-hander hasn't won a game since May 15 and was hit hard against Boston his last time out. Lopez almost salvaged the effort, sitting down 10 in a row after the third. But with two outs, he allowed David Ortiz to single before Kevin Youkilis delivered the big blow with a two-run blast.

"They hit the ball out of the ballpark at pretty opportune times," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "I thought he found himself after the second two-run inning and had a nice little stretch there in the middle part of the game, and Youkilis delivered the tough blow with two outs and Ortiz getting on in front of him. That was a killer."

Yankees: Juggling lineup without DH
Heading into a National League park, Girardi is beginning to make plans for how his team will cope with the loss of the designated hitter spot. Posada has been DH'ing more than usual since returning from the disabled list, while not catching on back-to-back days. The situation is made even more complicated by Alex Rodriguez's slow return from a hip flexor issue. Without a clear place to put either of the veterans who are easing their way back into playing, Girardi has some decisions to make. "We'll go day by day just to see how each of them is feeling. ... Ideally we'd like to DH [Rodriguez] once a week or rest him once a week. I don't think we'll get away from that. But I think we will get to a point here where we won't worry about his hip flexor."

D-backs: Stealing with zeal lately
The D-backs have been on a basestealing tear, which continued on Sunday as speedy center fielder Chris Young stole his 12th base of the year. Since June 5, Arizona has been near the top of the league in stolen bases, just behind the Phillies, who entering play on Sunday had swiped 14. The D-backs, with Young's latest steal, now have 13 over that span.

Worth noting
The Yankees have won of nine of their last 13 contests and are an MLB-best 28-5 when scoring first. ... On Sunday, the Yankees' franchise registered its 9,500th win since its inception in 1903. That figure tops any other franchise in baseball since that date. ... With an RBI double Sunday, Young now has 49 RBIs on the season, which is among the league leaders in that category.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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