NEW YORK -- It has been a while, but the Yankees remember being pleased with the contributions that Eric Chavez made on the field for them earlier this season. They'd love to see some more.
With Alex Rodriguez expected to be sidelined until mid-August, they are banking that Chavez will continue to shine in a part-time role. The veteran was activated from the disabled list before Tuesday's game, stroking a RBI single in the fifth inning of New York's 4-1 win over the Mariners.
"I think he can help us a lot," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He can play some third [base], he can play some first [base]. There's a lot of different things he can do. If he swings the bat the way he did before he left, he can help us a lot."
The Yankees optioned infielder Brandon Laird to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to create room on the active roster for Chavez.
Chavez, 33, was batting .303 (10-for-33) with two doubles, a triple and six RBIs when he fractured his left foot running the bases on May 5 in Detroit, beginning a stint on the disabled list that also included a kidney stone and a minor back injury.
He said that his at-bats felt better during his six rehab games with Class A Tampa, and he is expecting to have improved over how he was hitting in May.
"I'm hoping that it's better, to be honest with you," Chavez said. "I wasn't really driving the ball."
Suiting up for play on a Major League diamond for the first time in nearly three months, Chavez said that he had been itching to return.
"The frustration was pretty high," Chavez said. "It's not easy, but I'm glad I'm back and looking forward to [Tuesday]."
Girardi installed Chavez at third base for Tuesday's game, but said that Eduardo Nunez will continue to see time on the infield.
"I'm not of the belief that we would play Chavy six or seven days in a row," Girardi said. "We're going to make sure we keep him healthy."