Eric Chavez returns to Yankees' lineup
NEW YORK (AP)
The oft-injured six-time Gold Glove winner broke a bone in his left foot on May 5 after just 17 games. He had several setbacks during his rehab, dealing with kidney stones, a bad back and an abdominal strain.
''Frustration was pretty high,'' Chavez said. ''I'm glad I'm back.''
Chavez was being used as a fill-in for third baseman Alex Rodriguez and at first for Mark Teixeira before he was injured on May 5. He was hitting .303 with an on-base percentage of .410 and six RBIs in 33 at-bats in his first season with the Yankees.
''It was easy to put him back in,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''This guy has played extremely well for us.''
As well as Chavez played early, Eduardo Nunez will see the bulk of the playing time while Rodriguez is out until mid-August rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee.
Nunez has subbed for Derek Jeter when he was hurt and for A-Rod. His defense has been shaky at times, making nine errors in 32 games at shortstop and four in 21 at third, but he has brought energy to a veteran lineup.
Twelve of the rookie's 23 RBIs this season have tied the game or given the Yankees a lead, and he is hitting .273 with 14 stolen bases in 165 at-bats.
''I think our guys like when Nuni's on the field,'' Girardi said. ''The more he's played, the better he's played.''
The Yankees optioned infielder Brandon Laird to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Chavez.
Also, setup man Rafael Soriano was back in New York and could be activated in the next couple of days. Out since May 14 with right elbow inflammation, Soriano pitched in consecutive rehab games and was given off Tuesday. The Yankees want to ensure he is ready to pitch before he is activated.