NEW YORK -- Nick Swisher, who participated in batting practice and ran the bases before Friday night's series opener vs. the Red Sox, was out of the Yankees' starting lineup but was available as a pinch-hitter, said manager Joe Girardi.
Girardi hadn't received the test results on Swisher's mild left hip flexor strain from head athletic trainer Steve Donohue before his pregame news conference, but the skipper said he's had conversations about the outfielder returning to action Saturday vs. the Red Sox.
"I think a lot of it depends on how he feels tomorrow," Girardi said.
The Yankees don't want to rush Swisher back before he's completely healed to avoid the possibility of another strain. Girardi said he didn't think the organization was being too cautious with the injury, and Swisher is not ready to come back in a complete role just yet.
"We're making sure he's as close to 100 percent as possible," Girardi said. "When you have slight strains, you have to make sure that you don't necessarily have a setback."
Swisher will play in his regular position in right field when he returns. Friday's starting right fielder, recently acquired outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, will move to left field, allowing the 40-year-old Raul Ibanez to be used more as a designated hitter -- the role he was initially signed to fill in the offseason.
Swisher's return will also provide some balance to the Yankees' new-look lineup, with Suzuki playing regularly in the outfield and Jayson Nix and Eric Chavez filling in for Alex Rodriguez while he recovers from a fractured left hand.
"He's a guy that's a switch-hitter that you can put between two lefties, and it helps you out a little bit," Girardi said of Swisher. "We're kind of missing that."
Swisher has been out of action since he came up hobbling while running to first base on a groundout on July 20.