NEW YORK -- While manager Joe Girardi is pleased to see the names of Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis on his lineup card again, their activations from the disabled list Friday also came with the challenge of a couple of uncomfortable situations.
Girardi said that it was difficult to tell right-hander Ivan Nova and left-hander Vidal Nuno that their roster spots would be taken by the returning players, with both pitchers optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
"I would say it's the worst part of my job," Girardi said. "I always find it difficult, especially when a guy is doing really well. You look at Nuno and the job that he has done for us, but Andy [Pettitte] is coming back and will fill in that spot basically. We want to keep him stretched out."
Girardi said that the organization's plan is to have both Nova and Nuno starting at Triple-A. Nova had been pitching in relief for the Yankees since being activated from the disabled list on May 24.
"[The plan for Nova is] to be a starter, because that's what we envision him as," Girardi said. "We need to get him stretched out, doing what he's capable of doing."
Nova allowed one run in five innings against the Mets on Wednesday, lowering his ERA to 5.16 this season. Nuno posted a 1-2 record with a 2.25 ERA in five games (three starts) during his first big league callup.
"It's a job; promotion, demotion, I'm still around baseball, pitching every five days," Nuno said. "No matter what level I'm at, I'm still going to work hard and produce to help the team win."
Teixeira hitless in debut, but glad to be back
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira would have been in the lineup the day after suffering a strained right wrist during Spring Training if the Yankees had let him. The first baseman wanted to be on the field with his teammates, and he surely didn't want to spend the early part of the season working out in Tampa, Fla., or playing rehab games in Trenton, N.J.
However, that's exactly what Teixeira was forced to do. His injured right wrist kept him sidelined for nearly three months and forced the 33-year-old slugger to miss the Yankees' first 53 games.
On Friday, though, Teixeira's long wait finally came to an end. The first baseman came off the disabled list and played his first game of the season for the Yankees, manning first base and batting cleanup in New York's 4-1 win over Boston.
"No one wants to take two months off, especially me," Teixeira said after the game. "Getting back out there was a lot of fun. Hopefully this is the last DL stint of my career."
Teixeira went 0-for-3 at the plate with a walk and a run scored in the first inning. He grounded out to shortstop in the fourth inning, struck out looking in the sixth and struck out swinging in the eighth.
"[Going] 4-for-4 would have been great tonight, but I wasn't expecting that," Teixeira said. "I'm expecting to get in the rhythm, play every day. As long as I'm swinging at good pitches, as long as I'm not really expanding the zone … I want to see a lot of pitches, swing at strikes, and that's what I did tonight."
Teixeira said before the game that he felt great and wasn't experiencing any soreness or stiffness. He plans to ice the wrist after games for the next week or so, but the veteran said he won't need any additional treatment.
But if he does feel any pain, he's already assured the Yankees' training staff there won't be any toughing it out.
"I promised Steve Donohue that if it's ever sore I'll let him know," Teixeira said. "I may need a day off here or there, who knows, but my plan is I'm going to be healthy the rest of the season. … Now you just cross your fingers and hope there's no issues."
The fact that he's a switch-hitter should help. Teixeira, who suffered the injury while swinging left-handed, said he's been able to loosen up with right-handed swings before moving to the other side of the plate. Jon Lester, a left-hander, started for Boston on Friday, and the Yankees will face another lefty in Felix Doubront on Saturday, meaning the majority of Teixeira's first swings of the year will come from the right side.
Teixeira wasn't able to do it Friday night, but he said getting a hit would help the wrist, too.
"It feels better when you make contact, and I was dry swinging for so long I finally said, 'Let me just swing a bat and let me just hit a ball,'" Teixeira said. "Guys usually don't get hurt when they hit the ball; guys usually get hurt when they swing and miss. So once I started hitting the ball in the cages and BP on the field, its felt really good since then."
It's good news for the Yankees, who finally broke out of their offensive slump and ended a five-game losing streak Friday night.
"We had some great at-bats against Lester," Teixeira said. "His stuff was really good, he was getting a lot of low strikes, so we really had to put our best at-bats against him and get anything across the board. To score four runs off him is pretty good."
Of course, the return of Teixeira and third baseman Kevin Youkilis doesn't mean the team's recent hitting woes will suddenly disappear. Shortstop Derek Jeter, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and outfielder Curtis Granderson are all still on the shelf due to injury, and manager Joe Girardi will have a lot of roster decisions to make regarding first baseman Lyle Overbay, third baseman David Adams and others once those players are healthy.
But getting two All-Stars back in the lineup definitely proved a step in the right direction for the Yankees. As long as Teixeira avoids his normal slow start, that is.
"If anyone has any tips that they can give me, I'm up for tips," Teixeira said, laughing. "You just have to go out and play. There's a rhythm you have to get into. Hopefully that rhythm doesn't take long at all."
Youkilis goes 1-for-4 with an RBI in first game back
NEW YORK -- Kevin Youkilis sat in the clubhouse about three and a half hours before the Yankees started a three-game series against his former team. Stretching out his legs on the floor, he's a representation of what Friday night brought to the Bombers' lineup -- an injured star, and a reinforcement coming just in time.
"It felt good," Youkilis said after playing his first game since April 27. "Just DHing, and there's not really much you can do out there, so it's an easy day for the body and all that."
Youkilis returned to the New York lineup as a designated hitter on Friday night, delivering a 1-for-4 performance with an RBI in a 4-1 victory over Boston. The Yankees snapped a five-game losing streak and pulled within one game of the Red Sox in the American League East.
Youkilis batted second in his first game since being put on the disabled list on May 1 with a back injury. David Adams played third base.
Youkilis struck out in his first at-bat and grounded out to shortstop in his second, but he delivered a critical insurance run in his third plate appearance.
Youkilis stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning with runners on first and second. He singled past a diving Jose Iglesias at third base to bring Ichiro Suzuki home from second base and stretch the Yankees' lead to 3-0.
"In the big leagues, all the hits you can get is always a good thing," Youkilis said, "but in those situations, especially with the 3-0 lead, it gives a little more breathing room to the pitcher."
Youkilis struck out looking in his fourth and final at-bat.
Manager Joe Girardi wasn't sure where Youkilis would play on Saturday night in the second game of the series. Youkilis played third base in both of his games with Double-A Trenton and Girardi said "there's a good chance" he could serve as the designated hitter again on Saturday.
Most importantly, though, Youkilis' -- and first baseman Mark Teixeira's -- return adds that flexibility and versatility. Youkilis brings a right-handed bat to a lineup that started seven lefties Friday night and batted six in a row Thursday. With Youkilis slotted in the two-hole, it splits up the left-handed-hitting Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano, who had been batting 1-2 with Youkilis out.
That extra bit of depth let Gardner take New York's first walk since Monday to lead off the first inning and overshadowed an 0-for-3 game from Cano that could've been disastrous as recently as Thursday night.
"Anytime you add a couple guys like that to the lineup, it doesn't hurt," Gardner said. "We've been scuffling a little bit lately, and tonight we were good enough to get the job done."
Following ejection, Girardi admits umps got call right
NEW YORK -- With the opportunity to look at a replay from the comfort of the air-conditioned clubhouse, Joe Girardi admitted he was incorrect in his challenge of second-base umpire Vic Carapazza on Friday, questioning a fifth-inning force play that led to the Yankees manager's ejection.
Television replays showed that Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew stayed anchored to the bag long enough to force out David Adams on an Ichiro Suzuki fielder's choice, but Girardi said he would have still liked Carapazza to honor his request to ask another umpire for a second opinion.
"I just wanted him to get help, just to ask," Girardi said after New York's 4-1 victory. "He said he got a good look at it. From my viewpoint, I thought he was off the bag. He was not. I was wrong, but all I wanted was to ask him to get help.
"They do it in games, and I don't really understand why I got tossed. I got a little upset after he tossed me, but all I asked was, 'Just ask. If you ask and they say he's out, I walk away.'"
Girardi said that he might not have bolted from the dugout so excitedly if hitting coach Kevin Long wasn't so sure that Carapazza blew the call.
"I blame K-Long. K-Long told me to go out there," Girardi said. "He said, 'Go! Go! Go!'"
When it was suggested that perhaps Long should pay the fine from Major League Baseball, Girardi smiled and said, "Probably not going to work."
The crowd at Yankee Stadium gave Girardi a standing ovation as he left the field. It was Girardi's 22nd career ejection, his 17th as a Yankees manager and his first of the season.
• The Yankees have not drawn a walk in their last three games entering Friday's action. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it matches their most consecutive games without a walk since 1916 (also June 12-14, 1991, when they lost all three contests).
"That's unusual for our club," Girardi said. "I think the Mets threw a lot of strikes against us. Hopefully that changes tonight and we get back to doing some of those things."
• The Yankees and Blue Jays will make up their May 19 rainout at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, Aug. 20, as the first game of a day-night doubleheader. The first game will start at 1:05 p.m. ET and the second game will start at 7:05 p.m.
• On this date in 1948, a Memorial Day crowd of 62,626 watched starter Spec Shea allow just two singles to Washington. Four Yankees -- Yogi Berra, Charlie Keller, Bobby Brown and George McQuinn -- each contributed three hits as the Yanks won, 10-0.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Josh Vitale and David Wilson are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.