A-Rod returns to starting lineup as DH
Slugger strokes RBI double, may not yet be ready to play third
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with a ninth-inning RBI double in his return to the lineup in Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Phillies.
Rodriguez's swing felt lively enough for him to be back in the lineup as the designated hitter, but lingering concerns about his defensive mobility kept him from taking his glove to third base.
Rodriguez said he felt "good" after returning to the cleanup spot in New York's order for the first time since a strained right hip flexor forced him to leave a game at Baltimore last Thursday after just one inning.
"I took some good swings and never felt anything," Rodriguez said. "Today was a really good day."
Rodriguez had a little difficulty moving to his left while taking infield practice on Tuesday, and a day later, that was enough to make manager Joe Girardi rethink having Rodriguez in the field so soon.
"We watched him take ground balls yesterday and I just didn't think that he had the lateral movement that we wanted to see quite yet," Girardi said before the game. "He's going to do it again today and it could get better today. This way, we ease him into it. As far as third base, I don't have a date. Hopefully soon."
Rodriguez plans to intensify his infield workout with first-base coach Mick Kelleher before Thursday's game, but he didn't sound too confident about playing third in the rubber match with the Phillies.
"Take it one day at a time," he said when asked if he would need to DH again on Thursday, "but perhaps."
Rodriguez did look a bit sluggish legging out his ninth-inning double, and he didn't score on Robinson Cano's subsequent single. The baserunning had Girardi concerned about whether Rodriguez felt something or was just being cautious. Rodriguez said it was the latter.
"In a four-run game, I didn't think I needed to go all-out or getting a stand-up double was crucial," he said. "And on the ball [Cano] hit to right field, to turn third base like a wild man, I don't think it would have done anyone good."
Rodriguez has been receiving treatment on the area, which he described as the inside of his right groin, since the Yankees' June 4-6 series in Toronto. Rodriguez hit on the field at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and showed enough to prove he was ready.
"He felt that he had the explosiveness hitting," Girardi said. "He just felt that he wasn't quite ready to make his lateral movement that it takes to play third base."
Rodriguez will also be able to stretch more and stay loose on the stationary bicycle because of the DH role, which may have saved him from a stint on the 15-day disabled list.
"If he wasn't ready to DH in the next couple of days, then we would have definitely talked about the DL," Girardi said. "Because he's ready to DH, we're ready to send him up."
Logan, Gaudin come up big in 'pen
NEW YORK -- It may not have helped the Yankees come back in Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Phillies, but the work of Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin out of the bullpen set the Bombers up well for Thursday's rubber match.
With starter A.J. Burnett only lasting 3 1/3 innings, the duo of Logan and Gaudin -- each serving as long men out of that Yankees' bullpen -- combined to toss 5 2/3 scoreless innings. The only baserunner either allowed was an intentional walk to Jayson Werth, issued by Logan in the fourth.
"It helps a lot. Both of those guys were excellent," manager Joe Girardi said. "They didn't throw a ton of pitches where you'd expect them to be down for multiple days. They did a great job."
With Logan and Gaudin eating up innings, Girardi didn't have to use any of his core late-inning relievers in a game the Yankees never led.
"We can be up, down, even -- I'm in there for a reason, and that's to get outs," said Gaudin. "To go out there and be able to give them three innings and save some guys, that's big, especially in a long season."
Cervelli building on clutch reputation
NEW YORK -- When Francisco Cervelli stepped to home plate Tuesday against Phillies reliever David Herndon with the bases loaded, he was about as safe a bet to get a hit as anyone in New York's lineup.
Cervelli continued to stake his claim as a clutch performer with a two-run single through the left side that scored Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada, giving him 15 RBIs with the bases loaded in 2010 -- second on the club only to Alex Rodriguez's 16, including two grand slams.
"I'm just going to hit the ball -- that's it," Cervelli said. "I wanted a base hit or to put the ball in play. That's what I try to do all the time."
Cervelli is now 6-for-8 (.750) with two walks in bases-loaded situations this year. He owns a .447 mark (17-for-38) with runners in scoring position, including two doubles and a triple, driving in 28 of his 29 runs.
"I never look at my numbers or anything. I don't know," Cervelli said. "Every time I go up there, I just want to do a good job and put the ball in play. I don't try to do too much."
BP display proves costly for Mitre
NEW YORK -- Sergio Mitre was among the Yankees' pitchers having a good time over the weekend, taking batting practice on the field at Yankee Stadium and even depositing a few baseballs into Monument Park.
But those blasts beyond the center-field wall, it would appear, came with a price. Mitre landed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained left oblique, which he confirmed came from his batting-practice display.
"I just took a swing [Sunday] and felt it a little bit," Mitre said. "I didn't realize what it was, so I started warming up in the 'pen, and it went from bothering me a little bit to grabbing pretty good."
Manager Joe Girardi lamented that cases like Mitre's are the dangerous aspect of Interleague Play, something the Yankees know well. Every pitcher in the clubhouse is aware of Chien-Ming Wang's situation, when an odd foot injury running the bases in Houston two years ago derailed his promising career.
Mitre said that his strain was "not that bad," and expressed optimism that he could be activated in the minimum amount of time.
"I'd rather be pitching than hitting home runs in BP," Mitre said.
Yanks sign a dozen 2010 Draft picks
NEW YORK -- The Yankees announced Wednesday that they have signed 12 picks from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Players who have reached agreements include:
Eighth-round first baseman Kyle Roller from East Carolina University; 11th-round right-hander Zachary Varce from the University of Portland,; 15th-round right-hander Chase Whitley from Troy University; 17th-round right-hander Preston Claiborne from Tulane; 20th-round left fielder Michael Ferraro from the University of San Diego; 23rd-round catcher Shane Brown from Central Florida); 24th-round right-hander Conor Mullee from St. Peter's College of New Jersey; 31st-round right-hander James Gipson from Florida Atlantic University; 35th-round right-hander William Oliver from Palomar College; 36th-round catcher Nick McCoy from the University of San Diego; 46th-round right-hander Nathan Forer from South Illinois-Carbondale; and 47th-round left-hander Frederick Lewis from Tennessee Wesleyan.
Bill Mott, the trainer of 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, threw out Wednesday's ceremonial first pitch. Mott, 56, is the youngest trainer elected to horse racing's Hall of Fame. ... Curtis Granderson received his 2009 "Jefferson Award for Public Service" from All-Stars Helping Kids, recognized as a top athlete who gives back to the community. ... Entering play Wednesday, the Yankees led the Majors in bases-loaded batting average (.429), at-bats (84), hits (36), grand slams (six), RBIs (99), walks (11) and on-base percentage (.490). ... The Yankees last led the American League in grand slams in 2004 (nine) and last led the Majors in '03 (nine).
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.