NEW YORK -- The Yankees are toying with their lineup now that Mark Teixeira has been deleted for at least two weeks, placed on the disabled list due to a strained right hamstring, and they are taking a closer look at Jacoby Ellsbury as the new No. 3 hitter.
Manager Joe Girardi slotted Ellsbury in the three-hole on Monday for the second time in as many days, using Brett Gardner as the leadoff hitter once more. Ellsbury had led off in his first four starts as a Yankee.
"We liked what we saw yesterday," Girardi said. "We like Gardy at the top of the order as well. It just gives us some options, and without Tex in the lineup, we have to change a little bit."
Ellsbury went 1-for-5 with an RBI in the Yanks' 6-4 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday in Toronto, and he entered Monday with seven hits in his last 14 at-bats.
Girardi said that the Yankees had a good idea of what their lineup would be entering the season, but losing Teixeira forced them to re-evaluate. Teixeira had an MRI exam on Monday morning in New York to determine the extent of his hamstring strain.
"When someone gets hurt, you have to adjust," Girardi said.
Tex cleared to start exercise program today
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira moved slowly out of the Yankees' dugout on Monday, taking his place on the first-base line during home-opener introductions. The club's regular first baseman wasn't about to jog and risk further aggravating his strained right hamstring.
Teixeira was in uniform at Yankee Stadium, just a couple of hours after popping into an MRI tube to determine the extent of his injury. The tests revealed a Grade 1 strain, and Teixeira has been cleared to begin an exercise program today.
"I was hoping it was only going to be a seven-day, two-week type thing," Teixeira said. "I didn't want to go on the DL, but we can't play short and push it this early. Hopefully the two weeks will be plenty of time."
Teixeira was placed on the disabled list on Saturday after feeling his hamstring grab while he chased a foul ball the previous night against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
"I knew it wasn't anything major," Teixeira said. "I could walk, I could put some pressure on it. I just knew that there was something not right, and that's what the MRI showed."
Memories rush back for reunion in Bronx
NEW YORK -- As Derek Jeter prepared for his final Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, the captain was able to look ahead to a reunion with the "Core Four," one that would take place in front of 48,142 witnesses.
Jeter learned last week that he and Jorge Posada would be catching ceremonial first pitches from Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte prior to Monday afternoon's home opener against the Orioles. Jeter received Pettitte's toss, while Posada handled Rivera's.
"I asked Derek who he wanted to catch, and I said, 'Mo's throwing sinkers and cutters,'" Posada said. "He said, 'I'm going to catch Andy.' He started laughing."
Before the game, Jeter said that he would enjoy reuniting with his trio of former teammates, all of whom were key cogs in the club's most recent run of championship baseball.
"I don't know the last time we were all together; obviously it was at some point last year during Spring Training," Jeter said. "I was hurt a lot, so I don't know if we were all really on the field at the same time, but those guys are like brothers to me.
"I think it will be a special moment, especially for a lot of the fans that grew up watching all four of us play, to see us all together again. I look forward to seeing them all the time."
Pettitte said that it was fun for the three ex-Yankees to come on to the field and join Jeter -- the final member of the core still wearing pinstripes.
"Any time we all get together, it's special for all of us," Pettitte said. "It's cool to see Derek out there in a uniform, obviously us all in street clothes. We're all pulling for him to have a good, healthy season this year."
"You always want every chance to have the opportunity to be at Opening Day with your teammates," Rivera said. "You're always looking forward to it. But now, on the other side, seeing the last one standing is Derek -- just like Andy said, you just want to wish him the best."
Following Monday's game, Pettitte and Rivera are scheduled to be honored with the "Pride of the Yankees" award at the club's 35th annual Homecoming Dinner in New York.
Even though Jeter's last at-bat will go into the books later this season, Posada said that he hopes the Core Four will be a regular sight at Yankee Stadium for years to come.
"This year, Derek's the only one with a uniform on," Posada said. "But probably next Opening Day, all of us will be in street clothes or something like that. It's kind of weird, but it is what it is. We have to move on, and another Core Four has got to step up now."
Yanks deal Nunez to Twins for lefty reliever
NEW YORK -- The Yankees announced after Monday's 4-2 win over the Orioles that they have traded infielder Eduardo Nunez to the Twins in exchange for Minor League left-hander Miguel Sulbaran.
Sulbaran, 20, is 21-10 with a 3.15 ERA in 55 career Minor League games (45 starts) in the Dodgers and Twins organizations. This season, he made one relief appearance for Class A Cedar Rapids.
A product of Venezuela, Sulbaran spent last season with Class A Great Lakes and Cedar Rapids, going 9-4 with a 2.96 ERA in 27 games (20 starts). In 112 2/3 innings, Sulbaran allowed 110 hits and 32 walks, recording 101 strikeouts.
Nunez, 26, was designated for assignment when the Yankees chose to take Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte as the backup infielders on their Opening Day roster. In 270 career games with the Yankees, Nunez hit .267 with 10 home runs, 76 RBIs and 48 stolen bases.
The Twins have said that Nunez will be assigned to Triple-A Rochester.
• Yankees infielder Yangervis Solarte recorded multihit games in his first three Major League starts last week, becoming the first Yankee to do so since Joe DiMaggio in 1936, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
• Solarte entered play on Monday leading the Yankees in hits (8), doubles (4), extra-base hits (4), RBIs (5), batting average (.471), on-base percentage (.526) and slugging percentage (.706).
• On this date in 1977, Reggie Jackson made his Yankees debut and went 2-for-4 against the Brewers. The Yankees won, 3-0, behind seven scoreless innings from Catfish Hunter.