KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A premature end to a frustrating visit brought at least one thing the scuffling New York Yankees were hoping for.
Facing a late-night flight to Seattle as rain pelted Kauffman Stadium, the Yankees had their fingers crossed that Monday's game would be postponed early if it was going to be postponed at all. And indeed it was.
More than 90 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, the game was officially called, thanks to a heavy downpour expected to drench Kansas City all night. So the Yanks packed up and headed for the airport, losers of two out of three, and with an offense in crisis.
This game will now be played on Monday, Aug. 25, at a time yet to be announced. It had been an off day for both teams.
Same rotation: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he will stick with the same rotation. Thus Vidal Nuno, slated to face the Royals on Monday, will get the start Tuesday in Seattle, and Masahiro Tanaka will pitch Wednesday. "This just gives everybody an extra day," Girardi said.
Ellsbury OK: Jacoby Ellsbury was not going to be in the Yankees lineup Monday because Girardi wanted him to rest his sore hip.
Ellsbury, who has a team-high 13-game hitting streak, said he tweaked the hip while rounding first base Sunday on a double -- as if the Yanks needed any other negatives to emerge from a miserable outing in which they went 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
The hip's nothing to worry about, Ellsbury said. "I was planning to play in the game (Monday) at some point anyway," he said. "The plan was to come in at some point in the game. I was available. I plan on being in there tomorrow."
Jeter tribute on hold: The Royals decided to wait until the Yankees come back to honor Derek Jeter. The future Hall of Famer is being acknowledged at every stadium he visits during his final season, and the Royals are going to present him with a $10,000 check for his charity.
At various stops, Jeter has been given things like pinstriped cowboy boots and a personalized paddleboard. Someone actually suggested the Royals give Jeter a bronzed plate of barbeque ribs. But he said a donation to his charity would do just fine, thank you very much.
What to do, what to do? It's a good bet Girardi and all his hitters will be pondering a maddening and nearly teamwide batting slump on the flight to the West Coast.
Besides Ellsbury and third baseman Yangervis Solarte, almost no one is hitting. So far, Girardi has not begun waking up in the middle of the night to scribble different lineups on napkins. His strategy seems to be to stay the course.
"The one thing you can't do is you can't necessarily start changing everything," he said. "You look at what guys have done in the past and you look at what guys are doing this year and you try to put what you feel is the best lineup together every day."
In the past 24 games, the Yankees have managed to score more than four runs only five times.
"We've struggled the last 3 to 4 weeks scoring runs. Obviously, we know we need to score more," Girardi said. "But we're going through a tough time and sometimes you just need to ride it out a little bit."
In times like this, Girardi believes it pays to be patient.
"Believe me, I know what it was like to struggle as a hitter," the skipper said. "And sometimes ... I know when I watch a game on TV or broadcast games I think, 'Man, that looks easy.' It's slow and it's on TV and it's big. But when you play, it isn't easy. I don't ever want to forget how hard it is to play this game. It's really difficult."