NEW YORK (AP) – A day after Randy Johnson gave up four home runs in one inning during a loss at Chicago, the Yankees admitted the Big Unit has struggled during his first season in New York.

“He hasn’t performed to his expectation or ours, but that’s not something that hasn’t happened before, either,” general manager Brian Cashman said before Monday night’s game against Toronto.

Johnson, acquired during the offseason from Arizona, is 11-8 with a 4.34 ERA and has allowed 29 home runs – one shy of his career high and the second-most in the major leagues behind Cincinnati’s Eric Milton (35). The five-time Cy Young Award winner, who has been bothered by a bad back, is winless in four starts since July 26, going 0-2.

“I can’t say that we expected this stuff. Every time you put his name down in the lineup, you expect Randy Johnson to dominate,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “I’m surprised. He’s surprised, too.”

Torre thought Johnson pitched well Sunday except for the fourth inning, when Tadahito Iguchi, Aaron Rowand and Paul Konerko hit consecutive solo homers, Jermaine Dye and Juan Uribe singled, and Chris Widger hit a three-run homer.

Cashman and Torre cited the time it took for Roger Clemens to adjust when he came to the Yankees in 1999.

“Everybody’s just different,” Cashman said. “Sheff (Gary Sheffield) took no more than two months. (Mike) Mussina took about three months. Roger took a year and the first two months of the next season. Alex (Rodriguez) took most of last season, but in the second half he took off for us.”

New York began Monday a half-game back of Oakland in the AL wild card race and trailed first-place Boston by four games in the AL East with 40 games remaining. Johnson will have about seven or eight more starts.

“He’s got time to do what’s necessary to get us where we need to be,” Cashman said.

AP-ES-08-22-05 1934EDT


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