"As the day went on, he had a ton of treatment and he just felt he could give us an at-bat, so I took advantage of it," manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi, believing Cano's injury is simply a result of sleeping the wrong way, said before filling out his lineup card that he wouldn't be surprised if he had to rest Cano for the 1:05 p.m. ET series finale against Texas, considering the quick turnaround from Wednesday's 3-2 win, which finished just before midnight.
Jayson Nix started at second base and hit seventh, going 1-for-3 before Cano entered with the bases empty and two outs in the eighth. After reaching, Cano made his way to third but was stranded when Raul Ibanez struck out to end the inning.
"It's never easy to give Robbie a day [off], but if you had to do it, you're forced to do it," Girardi said. "Obviously, I like the way that we're playing, and we were able to win a game without him [Wednesday], but it's hard not writing his name in that lineup."