Cashman encouraged by homestand

Cashman encouraged by homestand

NEW YORK -- There were unpleasant phone calls from ownership and far too many sleepless nights as the Yankees limped to an 8-14 record in the season's first month, but general manager Brian Cashman has been pleased to see his club play more consistently of late.

The Yankees have won five of their last seven games after beating the Royals, 7-3, on Thursday, a modest run that offers encouragement that they can climb out of the cellar in the American League East. New York (13-19) opened the day seven games behind the division-leading Orioles (20-12) and Red Sox (21-13).

"I don't think there's anybody that covers our game, that's in our game, that thinks this club is what we showed in April, at all," Cashman said. "So, I would say that it would be one of the top surprises, is out of the gate how badly we were playing compared to the talent level we have.

"It was a group effort. Hopefully that's behind us, and now we're not a team that any of our opponents want to play as easily as what we were doing in April. We're obviously now in position to secure as many wins as possible before September."

Cashman resisted the temptation to make knee-jerk moves during the worst of the skid, believing that the performance would eventually catch up with what was expected when he constructed the roster. He said that Aroldis Chapman's reinstatement from suspension has provided a spark to the bullpen.

"Most clubs are trying to figure out the back of their bullpen, how to deal with the seventh, eighth and ninth," Cashman said. "I think our focus is going to be with dealing with the underbelly or getting to the seventh, eighth and ninth from our starters. That should be an easier focus than having to find a way to lock down the late part of the game."

More familiar faces are on the comeback trail: Cashman said that he is looking forward to having Jacoby Ellsbury, Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia rejoin the active roster. Having won two of three from Boston last weekend and taking two of the first three from Kansas City this week, Cashman believes that those reinforcements should help the Yanks get back to full strength.

"We dug ourselves a hole, and we're trying to climb our way out of it," Cashman said. "The only way to do that is one day at a time. This past week, the homestand's been good for us."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. 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.

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