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Claiborne returns to Yanks, replaces Nix on roster

Claiborne returns to Yanks, replaces Nix on roster

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NEW YORK -- Preston Claiborne has had a whirlwind few days.

On Friday, the reliever was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Mark Reynolds. On Tuesday, he was called up to be New York's 26th man in a doubleheader against the Blue Jays and optioned back to the RailRiders right after the second game.

On Thursday, Claiborne was recalled to the Bronx again. The reliever is filling the spot on the 25-man roster vacated by infielder Jayson Nix, who was placed on the disabled list with a fractured left hand suffered in Wednesday's game.

Manager Joe Girardi said he didn't yet know an exact timetable for Nix, but said his guess was that the infielder would miss the remainder of the season.

The Yankees chose to call up Claiborne instead of another infielder because the bullpen's two long relievers -- Adam Warren and David Huff -- pitched a combined eight innings on Wednesday.

Claiborne entered play Thursday with a 2.74 ERA in 35 appearances for the Yankees this season.

"Do you go with a short bench, or short pitching?" Girardi said. "I really don't want to bring a position player into pitch, so I chose to go short bench. And if we have to adjust, we'll adjust. We've had to do it before."

Nix's injury -- and Claiborne's callup -- does leave the Yankees limited options off the bench. The only hitters available off the bench on Thursday were first baseman Lyle Overbay, outfielder Brett Gardner and catcher Austin Romine, leaving the team without a backup shortstop behind Eduardo Nunez until Derek Jeter -- who is beginning a rehab assignment with Scranton on Thursday night -- is ready to return.

Should the Yankees need to replace Nunez in the field for any reason -- he did miss a game Tuesday after suffering a hamstring injury on Sunday -- Girardi said he would have to get creative.

Girardi mentioned outfielder Alfonso Soriano could possibly be a part of the contingency plan because of his experience as a second baseman, but he was coy when asked if he would consider moving third baseman Alex Rodriguez over to short. If Girardi did move Rodriguez to short, Reynolds could play third base.

"Vernon [Wells] lobbied yesterday, and I said, 'I don't think so,'" Girardi said. "I have some ideas. Hopefully it doesn't happen, but we'll see."

Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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