5/24/2014 7:40 P.M. ET
Ichiro producing off the bench for Yankees
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Ichiro Suzuki came into the season as a fifth outfielder on the Yankees' depth chart, but with Carlos Beltran on the disabled list and his return date unknown, the 40-year-old veteran is expected to see an increase in playing time.
"He's been really, really good," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's also been a really good pinch-hitter for us. He got on base again [Thursday] night, he handles that role really well. As we've talked about with Carlos not being here, he's going to play a lot more against right-handers."
Ichiro entered in the ninth inning of Thursday's 3-2 loss to the White Sox and laced a pinch-hit single, and scored on a two-run Mark Teixeira single. After going 1-for-2 with two walks in Friday's 6-5 loss, he has 12 hits in his last 27 at-bats and is batting .373 (25-for-67), including hitting safely in 13 of his 16 starts, with seven multi-hit games.
Though Ichiro's preference would be to play every day, Girardi believes that Ichiro has been a good soldier off the bench.
"You would think it would be difficult, but he's handled it really well, so it hasn't been that hard on him," Girardi said. "It's probably harder on young kids who don't have thousands and thousands of at-bats under their belt, and don't know how to prepare as well as Ich. But he's been really really good at it."
The Yankees expect to have further clarity about Beltran's situation on Monday, when he will attempt to resume swinging a bat. Beltran is on the disabled list with a bone spur in his right elbow. If it requires surgery, Beltran would miss eight to 12 weeks.
Jeter passes Aparicio for games played at shortstop
CHICAGO -- Derek Jeter logged a notable career milestone on Friday when he appeared in his 2,583rd career game at shortstop, tying Hall of Famer and former White Sox standout Luis Aparicio for second place on baseball's all-time list. Jeter played in his 2,584th game at shortstop Saturday to pass Aparicio. Jeter also became the American League leader in games played at the position.
Aparicio and Jeter trail only Omar Vizquel (2,709) on the all-time list. The Yankees only have 115 regular-season games remaining in what Jeter has said will be his final season, so Jeter will finish his career second on the list behind Vizquel, who played the majority of his career in the AL but also spent some time in the National League.
"Aparicio, everyone knows how great he is. I guess it's ironic that we're here," Jeter said. "It's hard to believe when you think about the history of the game that there's only one guy that has played more games. It's something I'm proud of. I take pride in doing my job and being able to play every day. To have your name in the company of someone like him is pretty special."
Jeter, who has only played shortstop during his big league career, has made the most appearances at any single position in baseball history without having played another position.
"It's amazing what he's done in his career," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The consistency, still being able to play shortstop; it's pretty amazing."
Girardi said that Jeter's professional attitude is responsible for his longevity.
"His effort in the winters and during the year, taking care of his body, taking care of himself at night," Girardi said. "You don't read about Derek at places at 2 and 3 [in the morning]; that's just not who he is. He understands that he has a responsibility to the team and he takes care of it."
With a run scored in Friday's 6-5 loss to the White Sox, Jeter also has 1,889 career runs, passing Lou Gehrig for second place on the Yankees' all-time list (Babe Ruth is first with 1,958). Jeter ranks 10th on Major League Baseball's all-time list (Alex Rodriguez is ninth with 1,919).
Roberts hobbled by foul ball; X-rays negative
CHICAGO -- Brian Roberts was sore and limping after fouling a ball off his right kneecap during the Yankees' 6-5 loss to the White Sox on Friday, but X-rays taken at U.S. Cellular Field were negative and the infielder said that he expects to be available to play on Saturday.
Roberts injured himself during a fourth-inning at-bat against Hector Noesi, hobbling around the plate after clipping his knee with a foul ball. Roberts stayed in the game until he was replaced by Brendan Ryan for defense in the ninth inning, finishing the night 1-for-4 with a run scored.
"I told [manager Joe Girardi] I could finish, but I think it just got to the point where you've got one inning left," Roberts said. "It got pretty stiff, pushing off, slowing down running, stuff like that. The cooler weather didn't help either."
Roberts is batting .232 (32-for-138) with one home run and nine RBIs in 41 games this season, his first with the Yankees. Girardi said that he was not certain if Roberts would be in his lineup on Saturday against the White Sox.
"I don't know what we'll have tomorrow in him, so we'll have to wait and see," Girardi said.
Solarte's emergence eating into Johnson's at-bats
CHICAGO -- When the Yankees entered the regular season, their working plan was that Kelly Johnson would serve as the regular third baseman, except on the days where he'd shift across the infield and give Mark Teixeira a breather at first base.
Generally speaking, the plan was for Johnson to be in the lineup every single day, but it has not worked out that way. Yangervis Solarte's emergence at third base has forced a restructure of the plan for Johnson, who appeared in Friday's lineup at first base.
"There's some factors you can't predict when you start talking about that stuff," Johnson said. "It all works out how it's supposed to work out. Obviously, No. 1, Solarte has been phenomenal. Great kid and you can't be happier for him. No. 2, I haven't done as well as I was hoping, in terms of right now."
Johnson entered play on Friday batting .202 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 38 games, and said that he has not run into the hot streak he needs to help those numbers look more formidable.
"We probably expected him to play a little bit more, but with the emergence of Solo, it's probably taken some at-bats," manager Joe Girardi said. "We're still going to get him plenty of at-bats."
Meanwhile, Solarte entered play on Friday tied for seventh in the American League with a .310 batting average, with a team-leading 24 RBIs. Johnson said that "it's not hard to figure out" why his playing time has been impacted, but he believes both he and Solarte can help the Yankees win games.
"If I'm doing better and he's doing well, then it's a great problem; we're all playing and all getting our ABs and stuff," Johnson said. "First of all, he's one of the easiest people to ever root for.
"I'm happy for him, but in terms of my stuff, I'm still trying to do well and trying to have good at-bats, trying to put up numbers, trying to do everything I can when I do play. I've said it all along; someone told me a long time ago, if you do well, you play."
In Friday's 6-5 loss, Johnson struggled defensively at first and went 0-for-1 with a walk to lower his average to .200. Solarte finished 1-for-3 with a walk to raise his average to .311.
• Teixeira was in Friday's lineup as the designated hitter, as Girardi tries to keep the switch-hitter fresh. Teixeira had driven in 19 runs in his last 19 games, so the Yankees would love to keep him in the lineup.
"There's good communication," Girardi said before his club's 6-5 loss. "I ask sometimes, 'Do you need a DH day,' and he'll tell me, 'No, I don't." I just try to keep on top of it and stay proactive with it, so we keep him healthy."
Teixeira went 0-for-2 with three walks.
• On this date in 1962, rookie Joe Pepitone hit two homers in a nine-run eighth inning as the Yankees defeated the A's, 13-7, at Yankee Stadium. He remains one of four Yankees to hit two homers in a single inning (also Joe DiMaggio, Cliff Johnson and Rodriguez).