OAKLAND -- The Yankees envisioned Raul Ibanez as their everyday designated hitter against right-handers who would play in the field occasionally. Instead, the veteran has spent more time patrolling the outfield.
Saturday marked Ibanez's 23rd start of the season in the outfield, 17 of which have come in left field with Brett Gardner on the disabled list.
By contrast, Ibanez has been the DH just 10 times, three fewer than Alex Rodriguez, who was the DH again on Saturday. Manager Joe Girardi said that Ibanez, who was batting .270 with nine homers and 27 RBIs, has not exceeded expectations by playing defense so often.
"When I saw him in Spring Training, the way he was moving, I knew he could do that," Girardi said. "In my mind, I had him playing the outfield once a week, twice a week, three times in two weeks, just to give some guys a blow. But we haven't been able to do that because of the injuries."
Gardner is working out in Tampa, Fla., and hopes to resume swinging a bat on Monday to test his strained right elbow. The Yankees want to make sure that Gardner does not have another setback, having not played in a Major League game since April 17.
"If we have another setback, we're probably looking at the All-Star break," Girardi said. "So we've got to make sure before [Gardner] goes out and play some games that [he] doesn't feel it at all."
Jeter ties Brett for 14th on all-time hits list
OAKLAND -- With two hits on Saturday, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter moved into a tie for 14th place on baseball's all-time hits list with Hall of Famer George Brett, owning 3,154 career hits.
Jeter legged out a bunt single in the fifth inning facing Athletics starter Bartolo Colon to equal Brett, who compiled his hit total over 21 seasons from 1973-1993, all with the Kansas City Royals.
Earlier in the game, Jeter stroked a third-inning RBI single off Colon to break a tie with Paul Waner for 15th place on the all-time list with 3,153. Nicknamed "Big Poison," Waner notched his hits over 20 seasons from 1926-1945 with the Pirates, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees. Waner had just one hit in 10 at-bats for New York.
Cal Ripken Jr. is the next name on the all-time list ahead of Brett with 3,184 career hits. Jeter is baseball's active hits leader and owns the most hits by a shortstop in Major League history.
Feeling better, Teixeira letting loose with swing
OAKLAND -- Mark Teixeira grew tired of an early-season attempt to boost his batting average and wants to return to swinging hard and not trying to guide the ball.
Blasting a homer on Friday and two on Saturday -- giving him eight on the season -- tells the Yankees switch-hitter that he might be making a wise decision.
"I'm just trying to grind through it, trying to be a little more aggressive at the plate," said Teixeira, who also delivered a two-run single among his four hits in Saturday's 9-2 win. " ... I'm feeling a lot better. The days off have helped. I'm just trying to make a little bit of progress every day."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was pleased to hear that Teixeira was trying to return to the form that has permitted him to hit at least 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs in each of the last eight seasons, the only Major League player to do so.
"That's what he's been," Girardi said. "He's been a guy that's hit for power and driven in runs. Production is what we want. We want production from him. We know he's going to play a great first base and we want production from him."
Teixeira entered Saturday batting .231 with 23 RBIs, a notch below even the .248 average he posted last season and thought to be unacceptable, dipping from .256 in 2010 and .292 during the Yankees' 2009 World Series championship season.
Girardi said that the defensive shifts on Teixeira probably take away two or three hits each 100 at-bats but said that he still believes Teixeira can get back to an elite offensive level.
"If he hits .270 and has 35 [homers] and 115 [RBIs], are we going to complain? No way," Girardi said. "I'll be thrilled to death with that."
Girardi was asked if he would be fine with a .240 batting average and 35 homers from Teixeira, a thought the manager rolled around for a moment.
"Probably not," he said. "But my point is that I don't believe he's a .240 hitter."
Yankees reliever David Robertson (strained left oblique) is scheduled to play catch on Monday. The Yankees do not expect him to return from the disabled list during this road trip.
Curtis Granderson has played in all 399 1/3 innings of Yankees baseball this season entering Saturday's action, all in center field. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is one of seven players in the Major Leagues to have played in all of his club's innings. The others are the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki, the Orioles' Adam Jones, the Braves' Dan Uggla, the Phillies' Shane Victorino, the Cubs' Starlin Castro and the Reds' Joey Votto.
Fans who would like to spend a game in Yankees general manager Brian Cashman's Yankee Stadium suite can bid on the chance at www.charitybuzz.com. The proceeds will benefit Covenant House, a charity Cashman supports.
On this date in 1959, the Yankees acquired Ralph Terry and Hector Lopez from the Kansas City Athletics for Johnny Kucks, Tom Sturdivant and Jerry Lumpe.