Jayson Nix could be an option at first base

Jayson Nix connects on a fifth-inning infield RBI

Jayson Nix connects on a fifth-inning infield RBI single during a game against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. (April 30, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

With Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list and his unnerving history of back problems, the Yankees worked on another contingency plan before Saturday's game by having Jayson Nix take ground balls at first base.

Nix is the team's Swiss Army Knife, possessing the ability to fill in at a number of spots. And with third baseman Chris Nelson now on the roster, the flexibility to use Nix at first base would give Joe Girardi a righthanded-hitting option at the position. The question is whether Nix can handle the assignment.

According to Nix, 30, the last time he played first base was a "handful of games'' back in high school, and as he said, "that was a long time ago.'' For Saturday's morning session, Nix borrowed a first baseman's glove from coach Brett Weber. He plans to hit up either Youkilis or Mark Teixeira for a game model.

"You just never know,'' Nix said. "We have a lot of guys down. I've got to stay ready.''

Teixeira spent Saturday morning hitting flip tosses from batting coach Kevin Long in the indoor cages and is scheduled to join Alex Rodriguez in Tampa Monday. But the Yankees can't provide a ballpark return date for Teixeira, who suffered a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist on March 5.

Grandy hit by pitch

Curtis Granderson -- recovering from a broken right forearm after getting hit by a pitch in his first at-bat of spring training -- was hit on the upper right arm by a pitch in Saturday's intrasquad game in Tampa but stayed in the game and apparently was OK. He had two hits in four at-bats, but the Yankees are staying away from making predictions about his return.

"The clock has started in a sense that he's getting at-bats,'' Girardi said. "We don't have an exact date. It's way too early for him. I know the number 50 at-bats was thrown out there by someone. To me, it's how he feels and how he's swinging. That's what will determine when he's ready.''

Extra bases

David Robertson played catch Saturday, but Girardi still is eyeing a Tuesday return from his sore left hamstring . . . Robinson Cano's sixth-inning double was No. 344 of his career, tying him with Mickey Mantle for eighth on the Yankees' all-time list.

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