Teixeira returns for first-place showdown

Teixeira returns for first-place showdown

NEW YORK -- First baseman Mark Teixeira returned to the starting lineup on Monday against the Rays after not starting the Yankees' last two games in Baltimore.

Teixeira has been nursing both a bone bruise of his right thumb and a broken right pinkie toe, each suffered in the final week of August.

"He said yesterday, 'I'm ready to go,'" said manager Joe Girardi, who didn't even need to confirm with Teixeira at the ballpark on Monday before slotting him in the No. 3 spot in the order.

Teixeira's production has dipped a bit in concert with the injuries. He entered Monday batting only .211 in September without a home run. Girardi and the Yankees took advantage of their final series against a sub-.500 team to give Teixeira a chance to rest before the final 13 games of the regular season.

The slugger did, however, appear as a pinch-hitter during Sunday's 4-3 loss in 11 innings, earning an intentional walk and then playing the field in the bottom of the 11th.