As Nix draws start, Girardi lauds value of role players

As Nix draws start, Girardi lauds value of role players

OAKLAND -- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez returned to third base on Friday while second baseman Robinson Cano moved into the designated hitter's spot for the second game of four against the A's.

Jayson Nix, one of several standouts on the Yankees' bench, made his fourth start of the year in place of Cano, batting eighth.

"He's played really well for us," manager Joe Girardi said. "We knew of him, and we'd seen him hit some home runs in the big leagues, but the job he's done for us has been really, really good."

Nix is hitting .298 this season against left-handers, even though two of his three homers have come against right-handers. The A's had a southpaw on the mound in Tommy Milone.

The Yankees' role players will have a greater spotlight on them now that Brett Gardner is probably finished for the season, and so far, Girardi's seen a group reminiscent of the '90s dynasty. Those are high compliments for Nix, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Chris Stewart, Dewayne Wise and Co.

"Pretty similar," Girardi said. "Productive guys. Whether it was a [Darryl Strawberry] or Tim Raines. Sometimes it was Cecil Fielder, Shane Spencer or Ricky Ledee. It's pretty comparable. We had guys who could hit the ball out of the ballpark and could play every day other places but chose to come to New York because they wanted a chance to win. It worked out pretty well for us."