NEW YORK -- After sitting out two days with a bruised right knee, Mark Teixeira returned to the Yankees' lineup Sunday, playing first base and batting third.
Teixeira left Thursday's game after Boston's Alfredo Aceves hit him with a pitch. He sat out Friday and Saturday's games against the Blue Jays, but reported improvement Saturday and told manager Joe Girardi he was ready to play Sunday.
"He came in today and said he's good to go," Girardi said Sunday. "I didn't even ask him. He came in and said, 'I'm good to go,' before I had a chance to ask him. I said, 'First?' and he said, 'Yes, first.'"
Nick Swisher had been playing first base in Teixeira's absence, but he moved back to right field. Andruw Jones, who had been in right, moved to left field for Sunday's game. Brett Gardner started in center field to rest Curtis Granderson, who was due for a day off.
Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, who returned Saturday from a thumb injury, batted in the same lineup for the first time since the first game of a doubleheader in Baltimore on Aug. 28. But Girardi also appreciates the return of Teixeira's defense.
"He's got so much experience over there," Girardi said. "Every play you know he's going to be in the right spot. Swish does a great job in his absence, though. He really did. Swish enjoys playing there once in a while. He always tells me, 'I can play first today if you want.'"
Teixeira entered Sunday hitting .248 with a .345 on-base percentage and 35 homers in 134 games.
Girardi impressed with Montero's approach
NEW YORK -- Right before Jesus Montero picked up his first Major League base hit Saturday, manager Joe Girardi saw some positive signs from one of the organization's top prospects.
After striking out on a curveball from Ricky Romero in his first at-bat, Montero laid off the same pitch his third time up. He then hit another Romero curveball into left field for his first career hit.
"I think he's made some pretty good in-game adjustments," Girardi said. "I thought he had an idea of what he wanted to do up there, and that's a good sign."
Even though he is a September callup, Montero will see significant playing time at designated hitter on a team that is in a tight race for the American League East title and a near lock for the postseason. Being a rookie is hard enough, Girardi said, even with added pressure.
"You can throw all the other things out, just coming up as a rookie the first time," Girardi said. "It's not easy to relax. I think you want to impress everyone. You want to prove that you belong, you want an opportunity to come back the next year."
Montero, who has played catcher during his Minor League career, has an uncertain future at the position in the Majors. On Sunday, he received his third start as the designated hitter in four days. As the season winds down, he is likely to reprise that role.
"His work ethic is good," Girardi said. "He still does all his catching drills on days that he's playing, and that probably helps. And it probably helps being around some veterans that can help him in this situation. Still, you're going to be anxious."
Tex, A-Rod to appear in Entourage episode
NEW YORK -- When they're both healthy, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez appear next to each other in the Yankees' lineup. On Sunday night they'll appear in the penultimate episode of HBO's Entourage.
Earlier this season, Teixeira and Rodriguez each filmed a scene at Yankee Stadium. On Sunday night, their work will air. Teixeira has already seen the episode on HBO's on-demand channel.
"I love Entourage," Teixeira said. "To be able to be a part of the last season, second-to-last episode -- it's a pretty special episode, so it was fun to be a part of."
Asked how he'd rate his performance, Teixeira, who filled out paperwork to join the Screen Actors Guild, told reporters he'd wait for their reviews.
"I don't have anything to go off of," Teixeira said. "So I'm going to let you guys, you can tell me tomorrow or whenever you see it."
But was he better than Rodriguez?
"No. We were equal, exactly equal."
Manager Joe Girardi said the Yankees had decided which of the six starters would be removed to trim the rotation to five. He expected to announce the decision after Sunday's game after he had spoken with all the parties involved.
The Yankees entered Sunday's game 36-9 in day games this season. When asked why their record was so impressive, Girardi said the number of fathers on the Yankees might be the reason. "Sometimes with an older club, families get you up early, and it's not such a long day. I know, when I became a parent, I loved day games."
Thomas Boorstein is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.