NEW YORK -- Ty Hensley got his chance to suit up with the Yankees on Sunday morning, hiking up his pinstriped pants over high socks and joining the big league club to shag fly balls during batting practice.

The club's first-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Hensley signed a professional contract with a $1.2 million bonus this week. The 18-year-old right-hander is flying to Tampa, Fla., on Sunday evening to join the Yankees' Gulf Coast League team.

"I've gotten a lot of good advice and tips," said Hensley, who was most looking forward to meeting Derek Jeter. "I'm looking forward to bringing them down to Tampa."

After the Yankees selected him 30th overall from Santa Fe High School in Edmond, Okla., where he was named the 2012 Gatorade Oklahoma "Baseball Player of the Year," Hensley said that his goal is to pitch in the big leagues by age 21. He stood by that on Sunday.

"It's definitely still my goal," Hensley said. "That's what I plan on doing. I've got a good group of people behind me, and I think it's definitely within reach."

Hensley received less than the $1.6 million recommended slot bonus after a routine MRI revealed an abnormality in his pitching shoulder.

"All I can tell you is that I'm healthy and I plan on staying healthy," Hensley said. "I've never been sore. I've never even been sore after I've thrown. I'm going to be healthy for a long time, and I prepare myself. I do my body right."

Hensley acknowledged that the diagnosis impacted negotiations, but said his shoulder has never given him any issues. He had committed to the University of Mississippi, but decided to instead accept the Yankees' reduced offer.

"At the end of the day, it just came down to what I really wanted to do more -- go to school or play pro ball," Hensley said. "And pro ball has always been my dream."

A-Rod's numbers boosted when he's Yanks' DH

NEW YORK -- With the microscope on Alex Rodriguez's sluggish start to 2012 becoming increasingly amplified, the Yankees' third baseman has quietly put together impressive numbers when he gets a breather from playing the field.

In 22 games as a designated hitter this season, Rodriguez is hitting .353 with three home runs and 10 RBIs, but entered Sunday hitting just .240 in the 59 games he had started at third base. While he started at third base in the Yankees' series finale with the Angels, Rodriguez could find his name penciled in at DH for another game over the homestand.

"It's not a sample size I'm unaware of," manager Joe Girardi said. "It could be a rare coincidence, or there could be something to it. I'm not sure yet. It is a smaller sample size, but I'm well aware of it."

Girardi said he's not ready to make long-term decisions based on Rodriguez's production as a DH, but believes it's a situation he needs to continuously monitor. While Eric Chavez has offered some flexibility at third base, Girardi still wants to be careful with him due to his prior history with injuries.

"We have to protect him as well, because I think he's really important to this club," Girardi said of Chavez.

When or if the Yankees get Brett Gardner back to play outfield, they likely will use Raul Ibanez as their primary DH. The 40-year-old outfielder was initially signed over the offseason to serve in that role, but Gardner's injury has forced Ibanez to regularly play the field.

Girardi hasn't had a talk with Rodriguez about whether he'd like to DH more, but the numbers have given the Yankees' manager something to think about. Rodriguez's on-base percentage shoots up from .336 to .417 when he starts at DH, and his slugging percentage increases from .404 to .529.

"I actually kind of peeked up at the scoreboard the other day and saw the numbers look pretty good," said Rodriguez. "But I don't see anything to that. I love playing third base and my legs feel good."

"These are things that we have to look at, and things that we have to piece together," Girardi said.

Chamberlain progressing toward return to Yanks

NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain threw two scoreless innings of relief and struck out two batters in his second rehab game with the Yankees' Gulf-Coast League team on Saturday.

The 26-year-old right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery last June and then had an open dislocation of his right ankle when he fell off a trampoline in March. He hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since June 5, 2011.

"He's got another two-inning outing coming," general manager Brian Cashman said Sunday. "He's coming off an extended period of time. We were talking about his rehab schedule yesterday and manipulating it as we go along."

Cashman said Chamberlain could be back with the team sooner than the full 30 days it usually requires relievers to get ready in Spring Training, but the team needs to see him throw back-to-back successful outings before a Major League callup is discussed.

Manager Joe Girardi hadn't given previous thought to Chamerblain's role once he returns, but said on Sunday he would consider using him in late-inning work. He would have no reservations using him in a situation because of prior injuries.

"When he's here, the gloves are off," Cashman said. "He looks good."

Bombers bits

• Gardner played a three-inning simulated game on Sunday, but Girardi wasn't sure how many at-bats that would give his outfielder. Gardner has suffered setbacks twice during rehab games, both times after doctors assured Cashman his left fielder's right elbow strain was recovered.

"It's what he actually does when the game starts with the bat," Cashman said. "If he can get past that, then we should be fine."

• Andy Pettitte was slated to undergo an X-ray on his fractured fibula before Sunday's game.