OAKLAND -- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez returned to third base on Friday while second baseman Robinson Cano moved into the designated hitter's spot for the second game of four against the A's.
Jayson Nix, one of several standouts on the Yankees' bench, made his fourth start of the year in place of Cano, batting eighth.
"He's played really well for us," manager Joe Girardi said. "We knew of him, and we'd seen him hit some home runs in the big leagues, but the job he's done for us has been really, really good."
Nix is hitting .298 this season against left-handers, even though two of his three homers have come against right-handers. The A's had a southpaw on the mound in Tommy Milone.
The Yankees' role players will have a greater spotlight on them now that Brett Gardner is probably finished for the season, and so far, Girardi's seen a group reminiscent of the '90s dynasty. Those are high compliments for Nix, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Chris Stewart, Dewayne Wise and Co.
"Pretty similar," Girardi said. "Productive guys. Whether it was a [Darryl Strawberry] or Tim Raines. Sometimes it was Cecil Fielder, Shane Spencer or Ricky Ledee. It's pretty comparable. We had guys who could hit the ball out of the ballpark and could play every day other places but chose to come to New York because they wanted a chance to win. It worked out pretty well for us."
Single in seventh pushes Cano's hit streak to 23
OAKLAND -- The hit that officially extended Robinson Cano's hit streak to 23 games in Friday night's 3-2 loss to the A's at the Coliseum wasn't exactly smashed. The solo home run he hit to tie the score at 2 in the ninth inning was.
Cano's seventh-inning single off A's starter Tommy Milone -- a left-hander who turned in a great performance -- had some odd spin and bounced under the glove of A's shortstop Eric Sogard, keeping Cano's career-long hit streak alive. He ripped his 22nd homer of the season on a 1-0 fastball and to the opposite field two innings later, off A's closer Ryan Cook.
Cano popped to second and struck out looking in his first two trips, briefly talking to home-plate umpire Bill Miller after the fourth-inning whiff.
Swisher day to day with left hip flexor strain
OAKLAND -- Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher exited Friday's 3-2 loss to the A's after feeling his upper left leg grab at him running to first-base on a seventh-inning groundout.
The Yankees announced Swisher's injury as a mild left hip flexor strain, but he said it felt more like his quad was bothering him. He's day to day.
"It's more low. It's more my quad than it is anything," Swisher said in the visiting clubhouse at the Coliseum. "We're going to see exactly what happens tomorrow and we'll let you guys know from there."
Swisher dealt with a left hamstring strain from late April to early May and was bothered by his left and right groin in Spring Training. Those injuries are seemingly unrelated.
Swisher was trying to bust it out of the box on his grounder to third with the Yankees down, 2-0, in the seventh.
"Just tried to turn on that extra gear, went to go grab it and it grabbed something else," Swisher said. "I hate getting busted up like this, but we got to do what we gotta do to get back on the field."
Swisher was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against A's left-hander Tommy Milone when he was removed.
The Yankees found out on Thursday that Brett Gardner is likely lost for the season and have been dealing with a seemingly high number of injuries this season. Asked about the disabled list, Swisher said "it's not in my vocabulary."
Swisher also had a right hip flexor strain in 2008.
Joba works two innings for Yanks' High A affiliate
OAKLAND -- Right-hander Joba Chamberlain's fourth rehab appearance on the way back from elbow and ankle surgeries was his first at a level higher than rookie ball.
In a two-inning start for the Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees on Friday, Chamberlain gave up two runs (one earned) on a pair of hits, one walk, one strikeout and one home run. The long ball came from the first batter Chamberlain faced, Dan Grovatt, a New Jersey-born 11th-round pick of the Pirates' from 2010. A Pittsburgh farm team, the Bradenton Marauders won the game, 3-2, and Chamberlain took the loss.
Chamberlain did not give up a run in four innings for the Gulf Coast League Yankees prior to Friday. Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not have a report on Chamberlain's outing when he met with reporters before the Yankees and A's played a 10:05 p.m. ET contest Friday.
Chamberlain has yet to pitch on back-to-back days.
"I don't think that would be the last test," Giradi said Thursday. "Let's let the powers that be make that decision."
Pitchers have 30 days to rehab in the Minors. Chamberlain's first appearance came on July 10.
Ankle on mend, but Pettitte still a 'little ways away'
OAKLAND -- Left-hander Andy Pettitte took to the Coliseum outfield on Friday to play long toss, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi cautioned Pettitte still has healing to do before he can ramp up his throwing efforts.
Pettitte, 40, is on the 60-day disabled list because of a fractured left ankle and can't resurface in the Majors until the end of August at the earliest -- even if he were physically ahead of schedule.
"I still think he's a little ways away," Girardi said. "That's got to heal more."