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7/23/2014 6:44 P.M. ET

McCann feeling comfortable at first base

NEW YORK -- It probably wasn't the two games spent scooping throws in a long-ago high school tournament, but for whatever reason, playing a little bit of first base seems to be agreeing with Brian McCann.

With Mark Teixeira nursing a strained lat, McCann started his second consecutive game at first base on Wednesday. It marked McCann's fourth career start and ninth appearance at the position, all of which have come with the Yankees this season.

"I feel a lot more comfortable than I thought I would, to be honest with you," McCann said. "I don't know why I feel more comfortable over there than I thought, but it's a good thing."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi noted that McCann played some first base in high school, but that's a little bit of a stretch; McCann clarified that he spent most of his time catching, and only played a pair of games at first base. Most of what he is doing now is learning on the fly.

"It's just going to be pure reaction for me," McCann said. "But I feel comfortable fielding, picking, whatever I need to do."

McCann said that he has been borrowing a glove from Kelly Johnson, but he is in the process of breaking in his own model. He said that the physical break is a welcome benefit, compared to the average day of bumps and bruises from catching.

"Absolutely, it might be a way you can keep his bat in the lineup a little bit more, and he doesn't get as beat up," Girardi said.

McCann said that the most challenging part of the position so far has been the slight nuances which may not necessarily be noticed by the average observer.

"It's just knowing where to be, knowing little things about the game," McCann said. "Doing cutoffs, I may forget to do that. Last night, I forgot to follow the trail runner at second. Just doing those little parts of the game over there is different."

McCann signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees this past offseason, and when he did, the team said that they envisioned him as a catcher deep into the deal. They still do, but McCann said that he's fine with pitching in at first base, especially given the injuries to Teixeira and Johnson.

"Like I said, whatever's best for this team," McCann said. "Obviously with Tex being out, it's tough, so someone's got to fill in. I'll be that guy."

Johnson lands on DL as Yanks call up Leroux

NEW YORK -- The Yankees placed infielder-outfielder Kelly Johnson on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a Grade 1 strain of his left groin.

Johnson, primarily an infielder, made his first Major League start in right field Tuesday night. He sustained the injury while running out a 10th-inning ground ball in the Yankees' 2-1, 14-inning victory over the Rangers.

With the Yankees in need of pitching help after Tuesday's extra-inning affair, right-hander Chris Leroux had his contract selected from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"We assume Kelly is going to at least be [out for] 10 days, so we make that move and go from there," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Girardi said that the Yankees needed to place Johnson on the disabled list because first baseman Mark Teixeira is nursing a left lat strain; Teixeira could take light swings on Thursday and there is hope that he would return to the lineup on Friday.

"I think you see how he feels tomorrow, then you make a decision about what would be a target date," Girardi said.

Leroux has made 65 big league appearances over six seasons with the Marlins, Pirates and Yankees. He pitched twice for New York this season, allowing five runs in two innings (22.50 ERA). At Triple-A, Leroux was 2-2 with a 5.08 ERA in six starts.

It has been a rough season for Johnson, who was expected to provide the Yankees with versatility and power. He has played five different positions, seeing most of his time at the infield corners, but has batted just .219 with six home runs and 22 RBIs in 77 games.

To make room for Leroux on the 40-man roster, New York designated right-handed pitcher Bruce Billings for assignment.

CC expected to be ready for Spring Training

NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia had arthroscopic debridement surgery performed on his right knee on Wednesday, and the left-hander is expected to be ready for next year's Yankees Spring Training.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Dodgers' team physician, performed the procedure. Sabathia was limited to just eight starts this season, going 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA, and has not pitched in a big league game since May 10.

Sabathia has struggled the past two season, going a combined 17-17 with a 4.87 ERA. He attempted to rehab with the aid of a stem cell injection, but experienced more knee issues after making a Minor League start for Double-A Trenton on July 2.

While Sabathia was disappointed to learn that his season was ending early, the 34-year-old said that he was relieved to avoid microfracture surgery, a procedure which could have potentially been career-threatening.

"It's something that I'm going to have to deal with probably for the rest of my life, and eventually have a big surgery," Sabathia said last week. "Right now, the goal is to keep playing, and this is the easiest way to do it."

Simulated game next step for rehabbing Pineda

NEW YORK -- Michael Pineda is continuing to move along the comeback trail. The right-hander was scheduled to throw a simulated game on Wednesday, a notable step as he attempts to return to a big league mound.

Pineda threw batting practice on Sunday at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla. After a promising start to his season, he has not appeared in a big league game since April 23, because of an upper back strain behind his pitching shoulder.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Pineda was scheduled to throw two innings or 30 pitches. Pineda initially sustained the injury while throwing during his 10-game suspension for pine tar use, then had a setback while on rehab in May.

Bombers bits

• Masahiro Tanaka has reported some improvement, according to Girardi, but it will still be another two weeks before Tanaka can resume throwing. Tanaka is in the early stages of a six-week rehab program intended to heal the partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament.

"He did say he feels better, but I don't think you really know how he's doing until you get him on a mound and you start going forward," Girardi said.

• On this date in 1957, Mickey Mantle hit for the cycle in a 10-6 win over the White Sox, becoming the eighth Yankee to accomplish the feat. Mantle went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored in the game.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.