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07/30/10 1:18 AM ET

Yanks give Thames a try at third base

CLEVELAND -- Marcus Thames thought the Yankees might have been joking when they asked him to man third base in the final inning of Thursday's game, an 11-4 win, but he was game to take his chances.

"It is what it is," Thames said. "They asked me to go over there and help out because they wanted to get Alex [Rodriguez] out of there. I told him I'd go over there as long as I had a cup on."

Sure enough, the way these things work, Thames was going to be tested. The test came with Chan Ho Park trying to close out the Tribe, as Jayson Nix rocketed a ball to third. Thames made a sharp sliding stab, but his throw sailed wildly into the field-level seats behind first base.

"I threw it like a quarterback," he said. "I was looking for Andre Rison or somebody on the slant. Robbie [Cano] was laughing at me pretty good."

So were the rest of the Yankees, though not as much as they ribbed Nick Swisher for striking out against position player Andy Marte in the top half of the ninth inning. But Thames got his share of wisecracks lobbed at him postgame.

"He made a great stop, but that's only half the play," manager Joe Girardi said.

"The throw was a little wild, but it was a hell of a stop," Rodriguez said.

Thames said that Derek Jeter had warned him that the Indians were going to hit one his way. It figures -- Thames guessed he hadn't played third base since 1986 or so.

"It was the first position I ever played when I first started playing baseball," he said. "My older brother, they needed an extra guy, and I was just a batboy that day. I think I was 9, and I had to fill in. That day, the first ball came to me, too."

Posada rests up for big series vs. Tampa Bay

CLEVELAND -- Jorge Posada said that he could have squatted behind the plate for the Yankees on Thursday, but he knows that his services will be needed when the club opens a big three-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field this weekend.

Posada expects to catch in two of the three games against Tampa Bay, beginning with Friday evening's contest, after a cyst behind his left knee had forced him out of Tuesday's lineup at Progressive Field.

"They're just giving me an extra day," Posada said. "It's a big series coming up."

Posada was the designated hitter in Wednesday's 8-0 victory over the Indians, going 1-for-5. He said that his left leg feels better, but manager Joe Girardi said that Posada told him it was "still cranky."

"I thought I might be able to play him today, but he's still sore," Girardi said. "I'm going to give him the day off, and hopefully, he'll be ready tomorrow."

Francisco Cervelli made his third consecutive start behind the plate on Thursday. Girardi said that Posada is available to pinch-hit.

"There's no doubt that I could play him, but if he's still a little sore, it makes it difficult to start him at catcher," Girardi said.

A-Rod not concerned with homer drought

CLEVELAND -- Alex Rodriguez has taken longer than any of his six predecessors to make the jump from 599 home runs to 600, but as long as the Yankees keep winning games, he could not care less.

"I'm focused on what we keep doing every night -- playing good baseball and winning," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez finished Thursday's 11-4 win over the Indians 1-for-4 with three RBIs, going homerless in the four-game series at Progressive Field.

Since hitting No. 599 last Thursday, he is 9-for-30 (.300) with seven RBIs, going 34 plate appearances without homering.

Those 34 plate appearances match his fourth-longest power outage of the season and surpass the 28 at-bat drought between Ken Griffey Jr.'s 599th and 600th homers in 2008.

But Rodriguez is taking the positives out of his chase. He showed patience with a second-inning walk against Indians starter Mitch Talbot, saying that was a "good sign." When the situation called for it in the third, A-Rod connected for a game-tying sacrifice fly.

"I wanted to make sure I got at least one run in that situation," he said.

Rodriguez rounded out his night by flying out in the fifth, grounding out and lining a two-run single as New York batted around in the seventh and striking out in his final at-bat.

The owner of 31 RBIs in 24 July games, Rodriguez said that "nothing's changed" in the way he is being received by his teammates, although of course he is finding it impossible to ignore the fuss when he steps up to the plate.

"I saw a lot of people out there in the left-field corner," he said. "I don't hit balls over there, though. They should be set up somewhere else, maybe right-center."

Teixeira has praise for O's new skipper

CLEVELAND -- Mark Teixeira had high praise on Thursday for the Orioles' hiring of Buck Showalter as their new manager, marking the big league return of the man who piloted Teixeira's clubs for his first four seasons.

"Buck's a great manager, especially for a young team trying to establish itself," said Teixeira, who played under Showalter with the Rangers from 2003 through 2006. "I owe a lot of my early success to Buck believing in me as a young player.

"For me, it was that he always just told me, 'I know how hard it is to play this game. Don't take it too hard. Don't be too hard on yourself. As a rookie or as a veteran, you're going to fail a lot.'

"What he did for me as a young player was make me feel comfortable that I was going to play every day, I was going to be in the middle of the lineup and that he believed in me. Sometimes that's all a young player needs."

Teixeira said that Showalter's approach could succeed in Baltimore. The Orioles entered Thursday at 31-70, last in the American League East.

"The team has some young talent but hasn't been able to win," Teixeira said. "You bring a guy like Buck in to make those young players believe in themselves, teach them how to win, and then see what happens in the future."

Worth noting

Alfredo Aceves (strained lower back) threw another bullpen session on Thursday at Progressive Field, and manager Joe Girardi expressed optimism that Aceves could pitch in a Minor League rehab game within a week. Aceves has been shelved since May 12. ... The Yankees' 64-36 record is their best after 100 games since 1998 (74-26). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they own the best record through 100 games for a defending World Series champion since the 1968 Cardinals (66-34). ... Alex Rodriguez has at least one RBI in 19 of his past 31 games since June 21, leading the Major Leagues with 38 RBIs during the stretch.

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