NEW YORK -- Three days into May, April seems a long time ago for Mark Teixeira.

With six hits in his first nine at-bats of the month entering play on Monday, Teixeira is distancing himself from an April he would prefer to forget. The Yankees' first baseman had experienced enough bad Aprils before to earn a reputation for getting out of the blocks slowly. But he had never had an April that even approached his opening month in 2010, when he batted a meager .136 -- 52 points worse than his previous April low.

"I like that start to May," Teixeira said. "I hit the ball hard, and good things happened."

Teixeira backed up a two-hit game on Saturday with four more on Sunday, lacing singles to each sector of the outfield and doubling down the left-field line. The four hits tied his career high.

Teixeira's four-hit game came as the designated hitter -- a role he has thrived in on his rare defensive off-days. In 33 career games at DH, Teixiera has a .366 average with nine home runs and 34 RBIs.

"It might be a coincidence, but at the same time, when you're DHing, you can just concentrate on hitting," Teixeira said. "You can watch more video. You can watch the pitcher on TV a little more and see how he's working different guys. I love DHing once or twice a month to get off my feet, rest a little bit. I don't like taking days off, so DHing for me is nice."

May has traditionally been a strong month for Teixeira, who has batted .300 with 39 home runs and 145 RBIs in 182 career games in the month.

A-Rod back in lineup after brief rest

NEW YORK -- As promised, Alex Rodriguez was back in the Yankees' starting lineup on Monday night, playing third base and hitting in the cleanup spot for the first of three games against the Orioles.

Rodriguez got a rare day off -- his first of the season -- when the Yankees beat the White Sox, 12-3, on Sunday. Manager Joe Girardi said it was a routine off-day before admitting that Rodriguez had felt "a little stiff" on Saturday. Rodriguez said the pain was more like a cramp in his right leg.

"I don't know if I needed a day, but Joe thought it would be better in the big picture," Rodriguez said.

The Yankees initially planned to give Rodriguez a half-day by making him the designated hitter on Sunday, but Girardi decided it was best to give A-Rod the full day off. With Saturday's game taking place in the afternoon, two days before Monday's night game, the decision essentially gave Rodriguez 48 hours off.

Rodriguez said he went so far as to call Girardi on Saturday night to get back in the lineup as the DH on Sunday, but that the manager stuck with his decision after sleeping on it.

"I hope he comes back feeling refreshed," Girardi said. "That was the point of giving him the day off."

Rodriguez has averaged 150 games per year in his 14 full seasons and has played in 161 games or more five times -- including three years with 162 games.

"You hate to sit out," Rodriguez said. "The idea of 162 is what you want to do."

Yanks don't read into Guthrie's history

NEW YORK -- Manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees entered Monday's game not anticipating any problems with the O's starter for the series opener, Jeremy Guthrie, who has developed a bit of a history in hitting Yankees batters.

"It's not anything that I go into the game watching," Girardi said. "Is there some concern because we've been hit so many times? Yeah, there's some concern, because we're worried about injuries. But it's not something that I'm necessarily expecting."

In his last start, on Wednesday, Guthrie plunked Jorge Posada on the right knee, causing the catcher to miss the next two games. After Wednesday's game, Girardi was intrigued that nine of Guthrie's last 17 hit batsmen happened to be Yankees. The manager admitted that even though he didn't see any intent on Guthrie's part, it was frustrating.

Posada had no qualms with the pitcher, saying there was no need for Guthrie to apologize publicly.

Three of Guthrie's seven hit batsmen were Yankees in 2008, and he plunked five Yankees in as many starts against them last season. For his career, Guthrie entered Monday with a 3-7 record against the Bronx Bombers in 13 games.