NEW YORK -- Although Alex Rodriguez missed his chance at history Sunday afternoon, second baseman Robinson Cano certainly capitalized on his milestone moment.
With a ground-rule double in the bottom of the eighth inning, Cano recorded his 1,000th career hit, becoming the third-quickest homegrown Yankees player -- behind Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly -- to reach that plateau.
"It's one of my dreams come true," said Cano, who went 2-for-5 for the game. "That's something you care about. I ain't gonna lie. I'm the kind of guy that sometimes -- you know what, I look at my stats to see how I do."
Cano entered Sunday's game sitting on 998 hits, but quickly trimmed the margin with a single in the sixth inning. Then, following the double that drove in Mark Teixeira and Colin Curtis, first-base coach Mick Kelleher approached Cano to congratulate him on the achievement.
And it took the 27-year-old only six years to register that total, causing manager Joe Girardi to marvel at Cano's budding potential.
"He's a great young hitter," Girardi said. "He seems to keep getting better and better. He's done this quick. That's the thing you can say about Robbie. Hopefully, he continues this for a long time."
For the time being, Cano is satisfied with his milestone. But has the prospect of potentially collecting 3,000 hits entered the second baseman's mind?
"Honestly no," Cano said. "I have my mind now on 1,500. That's what closer. Then, after that, 2,000, and you look at 2,500. But it takes a lot to get [to 3,000]. You have to be a special player." -- Didier Morais
Swisher, Gardner return to starting lineup
NEW YORK -- The Yankees had each of their corner outfielders back in the starting lineup on Sunday, with Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner returning for the series finale against the Royals.
Swisher didn't start either of the previous two games because of soreness in his left Achilles. He did pinch-hit in the eighth inning on Saturday and played one inning in right field.
Gardner, meanwhile, sat out Saturday's contest after spending much of the morning in the hospital with an acid reflux problem. Gardner said the problem flares up every once in a while, but not to the extent it did on Saturday, likely due to the heat.
Gardner added that he could have played on Saturday, but manager Joe Girardi decided to hold him out because the tests he underwent at the hospital involved anesthesia.
"The procedure they had to do, they had to put him out," Girardi said Saturday. "It's pretty hard to put a guy in the game when he had been completely out awhile before." -- Tim Britton
Mitre remains in rotation; Moseley in wings
NEW YORK -- Manager Joe Girardi said that, for now, Sergio Mitre is still his scheduled starter for Thursday's series finale in Cleveland. Mitre struggled filling in for Andy Pettitte on Saturday, allowing seven runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings.
It was Mitre's first appearance since coming off the disabled list from a strained left oblique injury he suffered in mid-June. The right-hander hadn't appeared in a game since June 4, and was making his first start since May 16.
"I'm not going to judge Sergio just on [Saturday]," Girardi said. "There is rust there. Being built up again, that can take its toll. You have to believe the next time he goes out, he's going to throw more strikes and probably have better command of his offspeed stuff."
Mitre's status as Pettitte's replacement may have been challenged by the man who followed him on the mound Saturday. Reliever Dustin Moseley was lights-out in relief of Mitre, allowing a single hit in 4 2/3 innings.
"I was keeping the ball down. For the most part, I threw strikes, attacked the zone and made them put it in play," said Moseley, who retired the final 10 Royals he faced. "You're just trying to keep the team in the game there. This lineup can easily come back at any point, so I was just trying to make pitches and eat as many innings as I could."
Moseley has been a starter at other times in his career, starting 23 games across four seasons with the Angels. He's 5-4 with a 5.69 ERA in those starts, compared to a 3-3 record and 4.76 ERA in 45 career relief appearances. Moseley said he's comfortable in either role.
"I just do whatever I'm asked to do," he said. "I can do both."
Girardi said he will discuss who will start with his staff soon, and probably have a formal decision by Monday, so that whoever gets the nod can properly prepare for the Tribe. -- Tim Britton
Girardi doesn't think trade rumors are distraction
NEW YORK -- As trade rumors begin to mount in the final week before the Trade Deadline, manager Joe Girardi said he doesn't usually feel the need to speak to players involved in trade speculation.
"I would if I felt it was bothering him," Girardi said. "You watch how guys go about their business and see if their personality changes or if there's concern in their face. If there isn't, I don't feel the need to say anything.
"It's not the first time that players' names come up. It's just the nature of this time of year." -- Tim Britton
Manager Joe Girardi said on Sunday that the Yankees will continue to monitor Phil Hughes' innings as the season progresses. The team will not, however, factor in potential postseason innings for Hughes. "We've just never counted them," Girardi said. "Postseason, the gloves are off and we're going to try to win a championship." ... Relievers Alfredo Aceves and Damaso Marte, both of whom are on the disabled list, will travel with the team to Cleveland. Aceves, who was been on the DL with a strained lower back since May 12, is scheduled to throw bullpens in Cleveland, according to Girardi. ... Nick Johnson will head south to Tampa, Fla., along with Andy Pettitte, to continue his recovery work. Girardi said Johnson, who underwent wrist surgery on May 18, is taking light swings, but he has yet to start hitting a baseball or taking light batting practice. Johnson and Pettitte will rejoin the team on Friday, when the Yankees begin a series with the Rays. ... There is no timetable yet for Aceves or Johnson. ... The Yankees entered Sunday with wins in their previous nine series finales. ... Pitcher Javier Vazquez (34) and first-base coach Mick Kelleher (63) each celebrated their birthday on Sunday. -- Tim Britton
Tim Britton and Didier Morais are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.