NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez, who missed the last six games with a sprained left thumb, returned to the Yankees' lineup Saturday, but he was not joined by Mark Teixeira or Derek Jeter.
Teixeira sat out for the second straight game with a bruised right knee suffered when he was hit by an Alfredo Aceves pitch Thursday night in Boston. Jeter received a regular off-day.
In Teixeira's absence, Rodriguez played third and hit in the lineup's No. 3 hole. His ability to play the field cleared the way for September callup and top prospect Jesus Montero to make his Yankee Stadium debut as the designated hitter. Nick Swisher continued to fill in for Teixeira at first base, and Andruw Jones took Swisher's spot in right field. Eduaro Nunez started at shortstop.
Even with Teixeira on the bench for the second straight day, manager Joe Girardi said the level of concern surrounding the injury remained low. Before meeting with the team medical staff, Teixeira said he felt "a little better" than he did Friday, but his knee was still taped.
"It's just getting through the soreness, and the soreness will go away," Girardi said. "It's not like he has a sprained ankle or something. It's a bruise, and that will go away."
Teixeira said after Saturday's game that he hoped to play Sunday.
Rodriguez may not be out of the woods with his injury. He was only cleared to play after running through drills, and Girardi said the Yankees hope the pain doesn't return.
"The injury should heal," Girardi said. "The problems that you run into is that you could have to go after a ground ball, and you could re-aggravate it a little bit. You'd like to be able to say you could control it, not aggravate it, but that's not the way the game works. Hopefully, that that doesn't happen."
Rodriguez, who has also missed time after having knee surgery, has now played in 85 of the Yankees' 137 games. He could sit more as the season winds down.
"I'm sure there are a lot of days where he'll be able to go through and he may not feel anything," Girardi said. "And then there could be that day where he jams his thumb a little bit, that it bothers him. That's the thing when you're dealing with hand injuries -- they come back. So it's just something that we have to check with him pretty regularly, see how he feels, and then we'll go from there."