Castro getting back in groove at plate

Yankees encouraged by 2nd baseman using whole field

Castro getting back in groove at plate

NEW YORK -- Starlin Castro says that he is a more dangerous hitter when he is able to use the entire field, which is why the Yankees have been encouraged to see the All-Star infielder get back to spraying balls around the diamond.

Castro had three hits in New York's 5-2 victory over the Twins on Tuesday evening, improving to 6-for-18 (.333) on the club's homestand entering Wednesday. Castro had endured a mild slide of late, carrying a 5-for-37 (.135) skid into the series against Minnesota.

"I feel much better," Castro said. "I'm just trying to go out there and looking for a good pitch to hit, don't try to do too much and try to keep the same approach that I had in the beginning of the year. Don't try to hit two pitches at the same time."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he believed Castro turned a corner in Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Orioles, when Castro belted a deep eighth-inning sacrifice fly to right field against reliever Brad Brach.

Castro's sacrifice fly

"I actually think I saw it on Sunday when he flew out to pretty deep right-center, I thought he got back on track," Girardi said. "When he's going well, he's using the whole field, and when he's not, a lot of times he's pulling off the ball."

Castro said that he had noticed an increase in his ground balls to shortstop and third base, which he believes is often a tell-tale sign of a looming slump. He credited assistant hitting coach Marcus Thames for helping him get his swing back on track.

"Me and Marcus, we're always looking at something in particular in the cage to work on," Castro said. "I think that's one of the things that helped me. I just keep watching my iPad and see the video of when I'm hitting good. I think I have my confidence back. I just go up there aggressive and hit a strike."

Bombers bits
• Outfielder Aaron Hicks (left oblique strain) is flying to Tampa, where he will take three or four days of batting practice at the Yankees Player Development Complex before playing in an instructional league game. Girardi said that Hicks could be activated late next week.

• Right-hander Adam Warren (lower back spasm) threw a bullpen session on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. The club's tentative plan is to have Warren throw one more before he potentially takes part in a simulated game on Sunday, with hopes of returning before the end of the regular season.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.