4/16/2014 1:35 P.M. ET
Sizemore rewarded with start at third base
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Scott Sizemore held the lineup card in his hands for a few extra beats at his Yankee Stadium locker on Wednesday, scanning the Yankees' lineup and finding his name in the No. 9 spot, playing third base in the opener of a day-night twin bill.
After two reconstructive left knee surgeries and some doubts about his future in baseball, Sizemore said that it was "absolutely" significant to have that tangible reward of all the hard work he put in during his rehabilitation.
"The last two years have been extremely tough, a grueling two years of rehab," Sizemore said. "To get a chance to be under the lights again, it's a rewarding feeling.
"... Maybe best case would have been to make it out of spring, but I had a lot to prove and that I was healthy and all that good stuff. To get a chance this early in the year is great."
Sizemore, 29, went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in the Yanks' 2-0 nightcap victory over the Cubs, and will provide manager Joe Girardi with more infield versatility. Sizemore has played second and third base in the big leagues with the Tigers and Athletics, and he said that he is about 95 percent back to his expected range and agility.
Girardi said that it is also possible that Sizemore will see time at first base if Kelly Johnson needs a day off before Mark Teixeira's expected activation from the disabled list.
Sizemore was taking ground balls at the position with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he batted .344 (11-for-32) with four runs scored, three doubles and five RBIs in 10 games.
"Obviously the more practice you get, the more comfortable you feel, but I feel like I'm a good enough infielder and a good enough athlete to do it," Sizemore said. "It's just learning the position and knowing the responsibilities is probably what would be the most challenging thing."
Jeter returns to lineup for twin-bill nightcap
NEW YORK -- After having more time than anticipated to rest his tight right quadriceps, Yankees captain Derek Jeter is scheduled to return to the lineup for the second game of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader against the Cubs.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had initially planned to give Jeter just Saturday off against the Red Sox, but he said that he decided to give Jeter a rest on Sunday as well after the 39-year-old shortstop was spotted stretching his quad during Friday's game.
An off-day on Monday and Tuesday's postponement due to inclement weather gave Jeter four full days off. Girardi started Jeter against Cubs left-hander Travis Wood in the nightcap of the twin bill; Jeter went 1-for-5 in the Yanks' 2-0 win. Jeter said that he still puts up the same fight to stay in the lineup.
"I've always understood it, but I still don't like it," Jeter said. "I still like to play every day, but I get the fact that it's a long season. I understand that part of it."
Jeter, who was placed on the disabled list last season when he strained his right quadriceps in his first game of the season, said that he did not complain about the tightness that he felt on Friday against Boston.
"I was running to first and evidently someone saw me stretching. I don't know who," Jeter said. "Joe said, 'Did you hurt yourself? We saw you stretching.' I said, 'No, it was just tight, no big deal.' That was the end of the conversation.
"Saturday, he was not planning on playing me anyway, then it got to Sunday and he said I was going to take Sunday off. I said, 'I don't want Sunday off.' He said, 'I'm going to give you Sunday off,' and that was it. The conversation, I didn't run to him and say there was something wrong."
Roberts better, dealing with lower back strain
NEW YORK -- NEW YORK -- Brian Roberts said that he is feeling better after being diagnosed with what he called a lower back strain, but manager Joe Girardi wanted to give the Yankees infielder all of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader off.
Roberts said that he aggravated an injury by taking extra batting practice on Saturday. A precautionary MRI came back clean, and Roberts said that he was given some medication to alleviate the discomfort.
"It's just some back spasms. He's much better," Girardi said. "I just would probably stay away from him today and see where we're at [Thursday]."
Roberts said that he came to Yankee Stadium on Tuesday and played catch, in addition to doing cardio and core exercises. Roberts planned to hit on Wednesday, and he said that he could have played if needed.
"I took a bunch of swings Saturday morning. I was trying to get things going," said Roberts, who is off to a 4-for-31 (.129) start at the plate. "Maybe I should have just stuck with where I was."
Yanks confident in backup catcher Murphy
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are not hiding their high hopes for catcher John Ryan Murphy, who was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday and will serve as the backup catcher to Brian McCann for the immediate future.
With Francisco Cervelli on the 60-day disabled list with a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring, the 22-year-old Murphy received the call over a more seasoned option in Austin Romine, who was up in the big leagues earlier this season.
Manager Joe Girardi said that it was "probably a pretty close call; they both have experience, but we went with Murph." Murphy was batting .192 (5-for-26) at Triple-A and had just two hits in 26 Spring Training at-bats (.077), but the Yanks liked what they saw defensively from Murphy, a second-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
"I think I've found a little bit more of a comfort level as far as learning how to manage a game and work with my pitchers a little bit better, and know their personalities," Murphy said. "I think that's really what's made the most improvement is on my catching side."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the New York Daily News that Murphy was the best catcher available in the organization.
"Now with the injury to Cervelli, we need the best catcher possible, and that's Murphy," Cashman said. "Romine will have a chance to play every day, which is great for him. In most organizations, he'd be in a higher position than he is right now, because he's not a backup, per se. We have catching depth, and he's the No. 2 priority at Triple-A and Murph's the No. 1. Murph has really come along and he's made himself the priority."
"That gives me a little bit more confidence, I think," Murphy said. "It's good to hear that from those people. I'm going to help the team any way I can here, I'm looking forward to doing it and I'm going to have fun."
• Mark Teixeira (strained right hamstring) is working out at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla. Teixeira has said that he hopes to be activated from the disabled list for Sunday's game against the Rays at Tropicana Field, the first day that he is eligible.
• Tuesday's postponement means that the Yanks will need a starting pitcher for Sunday's game against the Rays. Left-hander Vidal Nuno seems to be one option, but manager Joe Girardi said that he is not ready to name a probable starter.
"It's going to depend on a lot of things. We'll figure it out when we get there," Girardi said.
• Wednesday marked the seventh doubleheader in the history of the current Yankee Stadium. Two were played last season: on June 19 against the Dodgers and on Aug. 20 against the Blue Jays.
• On this date in 2009, the Yankees played their first regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium, a 10-2 loss to the Indians. CC Sabathia threw the first pitch, Johnny Damon recorded the first hit and Jorge Posada hit the first home run.
• The Yankees recalled right-hander Shane Greene from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre between games of Wednesday's doubleheader. Greene will serve as the 26th man for Wednesday's second game and then will be returned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.