Martin returns to lineup; Swisher back in outfield

Martin returns to lineup; Swisher back in outfield

SEATTLE -- There was good news on the injury front from the Yankees clubhouse Tuesday at Safeco Field.

After missing the past four games, catcher Russell Martin was healthy enough to get the start on Tuesday with A.J. Burnett on the mound. Nick Swisher, who played at first base on Monday after missing the previous three games, was back in right field for the first time since last Thursday.

"It's good to see," manager Joe Girardi said of the healing process. "It seems like all the injuries came at once. We could have two of them back, possibly tonight, and maybe the third, Alex, when we get to Toronto."

Rodriguez was out of the lineup for his fourth consecutive game and is still dealing with a sore left thumb. His original timetable for return was Wednesday, but now, a more realistic comeback seems like Friday's series opener at Toronto.

Martin returned after missing the past two games with a bruised right thumb suffered on a foul ball behind the plate Saturday against the Angels. Jesus Montero, who started at designated hitter on Tuesday, made his first Major League start behind the plate on Sunday, while rookie Austin Romine also made his first big league start at catcher during Monday's 9-1 win over Seattle.

Swisher was experiencing some mild tendinitis in his left elbow after last Thursday's 5-4 loss at Baltimore and sat out the entire Angles series. He was at first base on Monday, but Girardi kept him out of the outfield to prevent any potential long throws.

But on Tuesday, Swisher returned to his normal spot in the outfield. He says he enjoyed his time at first base.

"I love first base," Swisher said. "Not much running going on."

Girardi said that the irritation in Swisher's elbow is going away and it shouldn't be a concern looking ahead.

"It's the ones that irritate you a lot that you get worried about," Girardi said. "There are a lot of guys that are probably playing with tendinitis in the arm right now. It's just when it becomes too painful where you can't do the things you need to do."

The Yankees are still waiting on catcher Francisco Cervelli, who is in New York resting because of lingering concussion symptoms. On Tuesday, Cervelli was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sept. 9. It's unclear as to whether he'll return this season.

"It's really hard to predict what's going to happen because concussions today have become unpredictable, where sometimes you think you're getting a guy back, then he plays one game and he goes right back to the symptoms," Girardi said.

Chris Dickerson, who hit a home run off Felix Hernandez with a swollen right thumb suffered on a steal attempt, had his thumb taped up on Tuesday and did not take batting practice. Dickerson said the swelling was down, but he underwent X-rays to determine the damage and was awaiting the results.