Struggling Drew sits in favor of Pirela

Second baseman hitting .157 with 4 HRs, 19 RBIs

Struggling Drew sits in favor of Pirela

OAKLAND -- The Yankees held Stephen Drew out of the starting lineup for a second straight game on Sunday, as the veteran infielder searches for ways to escape his season-long slump.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi again opted to start Jose Pirela at second base over Drew, who is hitless in his last 20 at-bats and is batting just .157 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 46 games this season.

"I told Stephen, 'Continue to work,'" Girardi said. "He's trying to work on some things offensively. I've always said, whenever you play, it's an opportunity to open someone's eyes. [Pirela], I thought, swung the bat pretty good last night. I'm going to run him back out there."

Pirela's infield single

Girardi said the 32-year-old Drew has been "pretty banged up" at times, but that the benching was not injury-related.

"This game, sometimes, it's a humbling game. I know that," Drew said. "It's not getting too high or too low, it's just going out and playing every day. This year has definitely been frustrating at times. Besides these last couple of games, I've had some some productive at-bats, just no luck, so eventually it's going to turn around for me."

Girardi said that Drew's average on batted balls in play (BABIP) of .164 indicates that he has not been rewarded when hitting the ball hard. Drew's overall batting average is the lowest of any qualified Major Leaguer; the second-lowest player, the Angels' Matt Joyce, is 29 points higher at .186.

"I still think this guy's too good of a player not to hit," Girardi said. "We've seen him hit a grand slam. We've seen him hit three-run homers. We've seen him hit the ball out of the ballpark. We've seen him impact the baseball. To me, eventually it's got to even out."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.