NEW YORK -- Including Saturday's contest against the Red Sox, Nick Swisher has played three of the past four games at first base to give Mark Teixeira and his sore left wrist a rest, but the Yankees once envisioned Swisher as their everyday first baseman.
New York traded for Swisher in November 2008 with plans of playing him at first, but when the club signed Teixeira a month later, Swisher moved to right field.
"That was our thought process, and then when we got Tex, it was a no-brainer to put Tex at first," said manager Joe Girardi.
Swisher's start on Saturday marked his eighth of the season at first base, his most since 2009, when he appeared at first 20 times, starting 10 games. He has 203 career starts at first base, 80 of which came with Oakland in '06. He made most of his starts in the outfield every other season and has played primarily right field for the Yankees.
But Girardi is never hesitant to put Swisher at first base when Teixeira needs a break.
"I think he's a very good first baseman," Girardi said. "I think he could be an everyday first baseman. I really believe that."
If DL stint will benefit Tex, Yanks won't hesitate
NEW YORK -- While the Yankees are still evaluating Mark Teixeira's inflamed left wrist on day-to-day basis, they haven't ruled out shutting down the first baseman for an extended period of time to ensure he's completely healthy.
Teixeira was held out of New York's lineup on Saturday for the second time in as many games, and manager Joe Girardi expressed some concern over the injury's lingering effects. Teixeira first injured the wrist on July 30, and the team shut him down until Aug. 3. Upon his return, Teixeira played in 14 straight games until Friday, when the soreness was enough to keep Teixeira from the lineup.
"I'm a little bit concerned if it's going to get to 100 percent," Girardi said. "A couple weeks ago, it seemed to come back a little bit. That raises a red flag."
Girardi said the Yankees miss the flexibility Teixeira offers as a switch-hitter as well as the four-time Gold Glover Award winner's presence in the infield. But entering Saturday with a six-game lead over Tampa Bay for first place in the American League East, the Yankees see no need to rush back Teixeira, who leads the team with 78 RBIs. Teixeira will sit until he feels ready to play.
"Everyone plays through something a little bit," Girardi said. "It's to the point where you're too beat up, in a sense, to be productive. That's what we weigh. If we feel that after two or three days, maybe he needs a whole week, we might try and make it like that. If he needs two weeks, we'll do that. We're going to do what it takes to get him healthy."
In recent weeks, the Yankees have been cautious with their position players when bumps and bruises have arisen. Nick Swisher -- now Teixeira's replacement at first -- sat out six games from July 21-27 because of a strained left hip flexor. He then started at DH until July 31 before returning to the field. Girardi said that the Yankees, as they did with Swisher, will give Teixeira a week or more to recover if necessary.
"We're trying to let the treatment and medicine work to see how he feels before he comes back," Girardi said." Right now, we're in a situation where we don't have to make a move. With pitchers, it's always a lot harder. It's harder to carry an extra starter where we're not sure, because then your bullpen becomes short. With a position player, you get by."
In long stretch, DH assignments keep Jeter fresh
NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi penciled Derek Jeter into the leadoff spot as the Yankees' designated hitter for the second time in as many games on Saturday, but the manager said there is nothing physically wrong with the 38-year-old shorstop; the DH assignment is simply a break.
"Sixteen days in a row is the reason that I've done it," Girardi said. "As I talked about, it's really hard to give him a day off with the way he's swinging the bat. He's our leadoff guy."
New York is in a stretch of 20 consecutive games without a day off, and Saturday's game against Boston marked the 16th game of that stretch. The Yankees' captain has played every one, 12 at shortstop and four as the DH.
Jeter is hitting .343 (23-for-67) with 12 runs scored and eight RBIs during the stretch.
Girardi gave Jeter a half-day off as the DH on Aug. 11 in Toronto, on Tuesday against the Rangers and in Friday's series opener against the Red Sox. Girardi originally planned to DH Jeter on Thursday and Saturday, both day games after night games, but with Robinson Cano out of Thursday's starting lineup due to a stiff neck, Girardi needed Jayson Nix to start at second base, not spell Jeter at shortstop.
"I just said, 'You know, I'll just do two days in a row. What's the big deal?'" Girardi said. "Physically, he's fine."
Steven Miller and Ethan Asofsky are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.