One day after beating Toronto with a tying home run and a walk-off single, Yankees infielder Jayson Nix suffered a fractured left hand when Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey hit him with a knuckleball Wednesday night.

Asked before Thursday afternoon's series finale at the Stadium if Nix is done for the season, Yankees manager Joe Girardi sighed and said, "We haven't got a timetable, but my guess would be yes.''

Relief pitcher Preston Claiborne, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning in the Yankees' 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays, took Nix's roster spot even though backup shortstop Eduardo Nuñez is nursing a tender hamstring. After using long relievers Adam Warren and David Huff to get through Wednesday's win, Girardi worried about getting caught short in the bullpen.

"When you look at it, do you go with a short bench or short pitching?'' Girardi asked. "I really don't want to bring in a position player to pitch. So I chose to go short bench.''

With Derek Jeter expected back as soon as Saturday, Girardi gambled on Nuñez holding up. Asked if Alex Rodriguez could slide over from third to short in a pinch, Girardi smiled and said, "I have some ideas. I have a leftfielder that's played second base, too."

Girardi was referring to Alfonso Soriano, a former second baseman, meaning that in an emergency, second baseman Robinson Cano is more likely to move to short.

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Don't count Youk out

Rehabbing infielder Kevin Youkilis made a pregame clubhouse appearance and said his recovery from back surgery is proceeding well.

"There hasn't been any major setback,'' Youkilis said. "I get soreness, but that's all part of it.''

Ideally, Youkilis said he'd set Sept. 1 as a target date for his return, but it all depends on how an approaching rehab assignment at the minor-league facility in Tampa goes.