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04/06/08 1:48 PM ET

Girardi returns to Yankees dugout

Skipper still not 100 percent, but condition much improved

NEW YORK -- Of all the vantage points from which to watch a game at Yankee Stadium, Joe Girardi considers the leather couch in his manager's office among the worst. He didn't enjoy reclining on that couch for the past two days, to be certain, with an upper respiratory infection forcing him out of the dugout and into the doldrums.

"You feel bored," Girardi said. "You feel somewhat worthless. It's just hard, because you get up every morning anticipating doing the job at hand. They tried to send me home, but I wouldn't go home. I had to be able to see it and be there. It was hard for me."

Girardi was back in the dugout on Sunday afternoon, managing a Yankees team that lost two straight games in his absence. His cough still lingered enough for him to cancel a pregame appearance on a YES Network program, but Girardi still said he had markedly improved after spending the past two days feeling "the worst I've ever felt."

The illness, however, was not without further consequences. One of his daughters awoke on Sunday morning with a 104-degree fever, while the other developed a cough of her own. That's precisely what Girardi feared, yet couldn't prevent.

"That's the biggest concern when you have something like this -- who you're going to give it to," Girardi said. "It's the reason I stayed in my office and kept the door closed, because I didn't want to give it to any of my players or coaches, and, obviously, you don't want to give it to your family."

Bench coach Rob Thomson, who served as the acting manager in Girardi's absence, observed Sunday afternoon's game back at his skipper's side. Thomson spent time jogging from the home dugout to the manager's office and back during each of the past two games, running key decisions past Girardi.

"We would talk about things, but it's not the same feeling as being out on the bench," Girardi said. "It's actually pretty hard. It's not something I enjoyed. We had to find a way to get through it, and I'm glad I'm back."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.