Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez throws to first base against the...

Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez throws to first base against the Kansas City Royals. (July 11, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

The plans for Derek Jeter changed Wednesday night -- and just might have for Eduardo Nuñez as well.

General manager Brian Cashman for the first time left open the possibility that Nuñez will play a position other than shortstop -- primarily meaning third base as the Yankees wait for Alex Rodriguez to return.

"I think he's an option based on whatever the other alternatives are," Cashman said. "Obviously, we've run him over there and we've had him in the outfield."

Nuñez, 26, has played third, second, short, leftfield and rightfield for the Yankees, but when they sent him down last season, it was to concentrate on short. The feeling in the organization was that Nuñez's propensity to commit errors came from trying to master too many positions.

The Yankees, until Thursday, had been fairly resolute in the last year that they thought of Nuñez solely as a shortstop. But with Derek Jeter returning and the options at third not terrific, well -- as the Yankees have experienced this season -- plans can change.

"I think that comes down to a feel from Joe's perspective and the staff's perspective," Cashman said, referring to manager Joe Girardi. "We believe he's a shortstop but because of his athleticism he can play all over. I think it comes down to matchup issues and Joe's comfort level. That's a Joe call."

Gardner, Hafner sit

Brett Gardner (right leg contusion) and Travis Hafner (left foot contusion), both of whom left Wednesday night's game with their injuries, were not in Thursday's starting lineup, and Hafner did not play at all.

"The good thing is both X-rays came out negative," Girardi said before the game. "I'll see as they go through some treatment how they feel physically today, get them moving around a little bit. But I didn't think either one were starters today."

Gardner did pinch hit for Jeter, who left the game after tweaking his right quadriceps, in the eighth inning, and Girardi said after the game he could see the outfielder back in the starting lineup Friday night.

"I'm not sure about Hafner," Girardi said.

Extra bases

To make room on the roster for Jeter, the Yankees designated Travis Ishikawa, who was claimed off waivers Sunday and started Monday, for assignment . . . Andy Pettitte's victory was the 252nd of his career, surpassing Bob Gibson for sole possession of 44th on the all-time list.

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