KANSAS CITY -- Nick Swisher got his chance to prove that a week on the bench didn't cool off his hot start, returning to the Yankees' lineup in Sunday's 10-4 win over the Royals. It didn't take long for the switch-hitter to make a statement.

Swisher chased Royals starter Luke Hochevar with a third-inning homer, his seventh of the year. He finished 1-for-5 but said that working with hitting coach Kevin Long during the series at Kauffman Stadium kept him sharp.

"We've been working the past three, four days," Swisher said. "I've been with K-Long, working in the cage, really trying to stay consistent and do the same thing every day. My mindset has been good. More than anything, it was just good to get out there. I had a blast today."

Swisher had been out of action since April 29 with a tight left hamstring, but he passed all tests after running the bases during batting practice on Saturday afternoon, including twice taking a bow when he reached third base. Swisher could take it easy by trotting after his homer, but he feels ready to get back in the outfield on Tuesday against the Rays at Yankee Stadium.

"I don't like missing any time anyways," Swisher said. "For it to be something as little as this, maybe we took a couple more days than what we needed to, but it's a long season and you want to be out there every single day you can be. I think the training staff and everyone did a great job."

Triple-A rehab stint next step for Gardner

KANSAS CITY -- Brett Gardner's next destination figures to be Rochester, N.Y., as the outfielder is ready to test his strained right elbow in Minor League rehabilitation games.

Gardner is expected to join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after hitting in the batting cages at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday. Gardner has not played since April 17 and could need two or three Minor League games to prove that he is ready for big league duty.

"Really, it depends on how he feels, how comfortable he feels with his swing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It shouldn't be too long."

Bombers bits

• The Yankees are expecting third baseman Eric Chavez to return from the seven-day concussion disabled list on Thursday, the first day he would be eligible to do so. Chavez is expected to be at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday after seeing a physician.

• Curtis Granderson recorded the 1,000th hit of his Major League career with a third-inning single on Sunday afternoon.

• Yankees closer Mariano Rivera plans to see several doctors in New York on Monday and Tuesday to evaluate the torn ACL in his right knee and discuss treatment options. The Yankees continue to anticipate that Rivera will miss all of the 2012 season.

• On this date in 1922, Yankees hurler Carl Mays pitched a 2-0 shutout over the Philadelphia A's at Shibe Park that took one hour and 11 minutes to complete. On this date in 1930, the Yankees acquired pitcher Red Ruffing from the Red Sox for backup outfielder Cedric Durst and $50,000. Ruffing went 231-124 with the Yankees and gained election to the Hall of Fame in 1967; Durst would not play in the big leagues after 1930.