BALTIMORE -- With a tough lefty on the mound for the Orioles on Thursday, Marcus Thames once again arrived at the ballpark and spotted his name in the lineup.
Thames made manager Joe Girardi look good, stroking three hits off Brian Matusz -- including a run-scoring double in the sixth inning -- and working a walk in his fourth plate appearance.
"I know my job, and I'm ready to play when my name is in the lineup card," Thames said. "I've been working with [hitting coach Kevin Long] every day. I try to carry it over in the game."
Thames has made seven starts this season, all against left-handers. Sixteen of his 19 at-bats have been against southpaws, and he has 10 hits in his last 14 at-bats.
"He's played very well," Girardi said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do."
The lineup swap put Nick Johnson back on the bench after he'd gone 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored on Thursday. Nick Swisher moved up to second in the lineup, and Thames batted sixth.
Thames had to sweat a little bit to make the team as a non-roster invitee this spring, pitted against Rule 5 selection Jamie Hoffmann, but that is beginning to seem like ancient history as he enjoys a hot start.
"It's great," he said. "I hit some balls in Spring Training, and they caught them. Everything evens out, I guess. I was just ready to get out of Spring Training, and when I found out that I made the ballclub, it took a little bit off of me. I was beating myself up, even though I worked hard in the offseason."
Posada's knee not a cause for concern
BALTIMORE -- Jorge Posada wasn't planning to do any squatting on Thursday unless the Yankees were faced with an emergency situation, but his healing right knee was something to be encouraged about.
Posada was hit on the right knee by a Jeremy Guthrie pitch in the second inning of New York's 8-3 victory over Baltimore on Wednesday, and the 38-year-old spent most of Thursday in the treatment room with assistant athletic trainer Steve Donohue.
"No question, there's been improvement since last night," Posada said. "There's still some swelling that we need to get out, but if need be, in a pinch, I can play tonight."
Manager Joe Girardi checked with Posada earlier on Thursday, learning that his catcher was mostly sore and that he could bend his knee. For that reason the club was never close to calling up a catcher from the Minor Leagues, and Posada was not sent for tests.
In the event that something did happen to Francisco Cervelli, who is catching A.J. Burnett on Thursday, Girardi would probably go first to Posada rather than to emergency third catcher Ramiro Pena.
"If something were to happen to Cervy, [Posada] could get behind home plate," Girardi said. "Running, he's probably not going to feel great, but that was never one of his strong suits."
Girardi expects Posada to continue improving as the Yankees return home on Friday to open a homestand with the White Sox, but he considers Posada "doubtful" to start the first game of that series.
"I think every day he's going to get better," he said. "He may be more than an emergency catcher tomorrow. I think we're going to be fine."
Girardi frustrated with Guthrie plunkings
BALTIMORE -- Maybe Jeremy Guthrie tends to pitch inside more against the Yankees, or perhaps he feels more pressure when he sees a batter wearing an interlocking "NY" on his helmet.
Whatever it is, manager Joe Girardi shrugged, he's not exactly elated with the dynamic. The Orioles hurler has hit 17 batters since the beginning of the 2008 season, and nine of them have been Yankees -- the latest being Jorge Posada in the second inning on Thursday.
"That is somewhat peculiar, but he does see us more than a lot of other clubs," Girardi said. "I don't think we ever miss him. It might be a case where he's trying too hard. It could be that, too."
Guthrie did not discuss the issue with reporters before Thursday's game. But the right-hander -- who also hit Mark Teixeira in a Grapefruit League contest this spring -- said on Wednesday that he had not intended to hit Posada.
"I'm apologetic for the fact that if he were to miss some time, that would be a shame that it was a pitch that got away from me that had that result," Guthrie said after the Yankees' 8-3 win.
Girardi made sure to note that he does not wish to begin a war of words with the Orioles, and he does not believe Guthrie has thrown at the Yankees intentionally.
"I'm sure he's frustrated with it, too, because the last thing you want to do is give free baserunners," he said. "He's got outstanding stuff. I know he's trying as hard as he can. It seems like he puts his heart out there. We're frustrated by it because we lost a player."
Derek Jeter said that the Yankees don't exactly run to the bat rack against Guthrie, who is 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 13 career games (12 starts) against New York.
"He's what you'd call effectively wild, you know what I mean?" Jeter said. "One pitch can be close to you, and the next time he's painting [the corner]. It's not comfortable. That's probably a good thing for a pitcher."
Derek Jeter led off Wednesday's game with the 442nd double of his career, tying Don Mattingly for third place on the Yankees' all-time list. He trails only Lou Gehrig (534) and Bernie Williams (449). ... Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, Boone Logan, Marcus Thames and Randy Winn visited Bethesda (Md.) Naval Hospital on Wednesday. ... Alex Rodriguez entered play Thursday hitless in his last 16 at-bats. He hit an RBI sacrifice fly and grounded out in his first two plate appearances.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.