As A-Rod heals, keeping Chavez healthy key

As A-Rod heals, keeping Chavez healthy key

SEATTLE -- Eric Chavez has proved to be a useful piece backing up at the corner-infield spots for the Yankees, but in the wake of third baseman Alex Rodriguez's broken left hand, the veteran figures to see an increase in playing time.

Chavez started at third base for the Yankees on Wednesday as they completed a three-game series with the Mariners at Safeco Field, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he is comfortable writing the 34-year-old's name in the lineup more regularly.

"I think he does a tremendous job, and his offense has been good for us," Girardi said. "But I think you have to manage his health as well. I'll check with him every day, and hopefully we'll see enough left-handers that you can kind of break up all the right-handers in a row."

The Yankees also have utility man Jayson Nix on the roster and recalled infielder Ramiro Pena from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday to add flexibility, but Girardi said he mostly foresees a platoon of Chavez and Nix carrying the position.

Chavez entered play on Wednesday batting .269 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in 64 games. Girardi said that he must keep close tabs on Chavez, who has struggled with injuries in recent years after starring at the hot corner with the Athletics.

"You just have to be smart about it and know that he's had some ailments that he's had to deal with over his career," Girardi said. "He's had a back issue, a shoulder issue; you just have to watch him. I told him, 'If you feel something, you have to let me know. Let's not get to a point where you really break down and we lose you for a substantial amount of time.'"