ST. PETERSBURG -- Mark Teixeira is hoping to restore some normalcy to the Yankees' first-base position, as the five-time Gold Glove Award winner was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Sunday's 5-1 extra-innings win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Teixeira strained his right hamstring on April 4 in Toronto, and in his absence, the Yankees were forced to use a mishmash of fill-in first basemen. Kelly Johnson entered the season with three career games at first base, while Francisco Cervelli and Scott Sizemore had never played the position before this season.
"They did a great job," Teixeira said. "We have a lot of good athletes over there, guys who have played all over the infield. It's not like we took a big DH and threw him over there and said, 'Good luck.' So those guys did great."
Teixeira, who batted fifth on Sunday, was 2-for-6 with a fielding error in the contest -- his third miscue in five games this season. Still, Teixeira said that his hamstring felt fine, and noted that he would have fought harder to stay in the lineup if the injury had happened later in the season.
"It felt good pretty much right away," Teixeira said. "I wasn't sprinting, that's the thing. What you don't want to do is push it too early, and we didn't. We were really smart about it, and it feels good."
Teixeira's return creates some uncertainty for hot-hitting rookie Yangervis Solarte. Manager Joe Girardi had Solarte penciled in the lineup on Sunday, playing third base, and it is possible that Solarte and Johnson could platoon at third base. Solarte could also see time at second base as a super sub behind Brian Roberts.
"All these guys are going to play. I think it's important that they all play, that you keep them all fresh, that you make sure that they're all involved in case you do have an injury or something," Girardi said.
"With the age on our team, I think that everyone is going to play. There will be plenty of opportunities to play everybody. Just think about how much [Ichiro Suzuki] has played already."
Yankees juggle pitching staff
ST. PETERSBURG -- After surrendering 27 runs to the Rays over the last two games and losing Ivan Nova to injury, the Yankees shuffled their pitching staff prior to Sunday's series finale at Tropicana Field.
In addition to reinstating first baseman Mark Teixeira from the 15-day disabled list, New York recalled right-hander Preston Claiborne from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and right-hander Bryan Mitchell from Double-A Trenton.
"We spent a lot of time last night talking about the moves that we were going to make to get some extra pitching here and activate Tex," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Nova was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an ulnar collateral ligament injury to his right elbow, and New York optioned infielder Scott Sizemore to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The club also designated right-hander Matt Daley for assignment.
Girardi said that it was a difficult decision to send down Sizemore, who had four hits in 13 at-bats (.308) with two doubles and four RBIs in five games after he returned from his second reconstructive knee surgery.
Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte remain on the roster as reserve infielders. Girardi said that Anna's ability to play shortstop gave him an edge over Sizemore.
"It's tough. The kid did everything right," Girardi said of Sizemore. "Obviously, he has put himself back on the map. He's been hurt the last couple of years, but he helped us win a couple of games. Sometimes it comes down to a numbers game."
• David Robertson remains on track to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Robertson will be reinstated to the closer's role, bumping Shawn Kelley to setup duty.
• With one inning of work in Saturday's 16-1 loss to the Rays, Dean Anna became the fourth Yankees position player to pitch in a game since 2009. Anna joined Alberto Gonzalez (2013), DeWayne Wise (2012) and Nick Swisher (2009).
• Derek Jeter entered play on Sunday having reached base safely in each of his 12 games this season. That marks his third-longest streak of reaching base safely to start a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Jeter had a 53-game streak to open 1999, and a 35-game streak to open 2007. He reached base in 12 straight games to open 1996.
• On this date in 1939, the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 2-0, on Opening Day at Fenway Park. An ailing Lou Gehrig went 0-for-4 in his final Fenway appearance, and Ted Williams went 1-for-4 in his Major League debut. It was the only game to feature both players.