Balls are leaving the new Yankee Stadium in eye-popping numbers. Nicknames for the $1.5 billion, hitter-friendly park have included "Bronx bandbox" and "Coors Field East."

Through 29 games, 105 balls (35 to left field, 8 to center, 62 to right) had sailed into way-overpriced outfield seats. That's compared with last year's total, through the same number of contests, of 57.

The Yankees say the dimensions of the new park are identical to those of the old one: 314 feet down the right-field line, 385 to right-center, 408 to center, 399 to left-center, and 314 down the left-field line.

And others cite different reasons for the home-run barrage. According to AccuWeather meteorologist Tim Buckley, schematics of the stadium show nuances that may have an impact. For example, do open concourses or the shallower slope of the stands create a wind tunnel in right field that helps the ball carry? And how about the outfield wall being two feet shorter than the wall at old Yankee Stadium?

Asked about the possibility of changes, such as moving the outfield fences back, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in the New York Post, "It's not something I'm even thinking about. Most of the home runs are launched, so I don't know. We can't move the subway line."

Cashman added that the ball was "clearly flying here more than it used to, but I can't tell you why."

Uncertain no more

The Texas Rangers entered last night's action with a four-game lead in the AL West. For manager Ron Washington's efforts in the turnaround, the club picked up his option through the 2010 season.

"I wish all our decisions were this easy," Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. "This was a no-brainer."

Washington, hired in November 2006, entered the 2009 campaign as the first Rangers manager in 30 years not to have a guaranteed contract beyond the current season.

Freddy returns

Veteran righthander Freddy Garcia, slowed in recent years by shoulder issues, is back with the White Sox. In 2005, he helped Chicago win the World Series.

The 34-year-old Garcia re-signed with the Sox after passing a physical. He had been a free agent since being released by the New York Mets on April 28. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Garcia, a native of Venezuela, underwent surgery in August 2007 while with the Phillies. He has also played for the Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers. He has a 118-77 record with a 4.07 ERA over 10 major-league seasons. With the Mariners in 2001, he went 18-6 with a 3.05 ERA.

Noteworthy

The Colorado Rockies traded reliever Jason Grilli to the Texas Rangers for future cash considerations. The 32-year-old righthander is 0-1 with a 6.05 ERA in 22 appearances this season.

Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019
This article contains information from the Associated Press.