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John Ryan Murphy could be righthanded option at first base

New York Yankees catcher John Ryan Murphy singles

New York Yankees catcher John Ryan Murphy singles against the Chicago White Sox during the sixth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The only righthanded bat in the Yankees' lineup Tuesday night against Boston righthander Rick Porcello was Alex Rodriguez. But manager Joe Girardi knows his club will need to use more righthanded hitters in the playoffs because they are likely to face a steady diet of lefthanded pitching, which is why he asked backup catcher John Ryan Murphy to start taking ground balls at first base Tuesday. Rookie Greg Bird, a lefthanded hitter, has been starting at first base against both lefties and righties.

Admitting the Yankees have struggled against lefties, Girardi said: "It's something we know we have to get better at. We've played with some different ideas. Murphy is taking some ground balls over there [at first base] today."

Murphy has been swinging a hot bat with multiple hits in three of his past five starts and an average of .310 or better in three of the past four months. He played some third base in the minors at Tampa, but this is his first time playing first base.

"I think the first thing that stuck out is you have more time," Murphy said. . . . I feel pretty comfortable over there."

Drew's season over?

Stephen Drew, who has had recent dizzy spells, had an MRI on his brain looking for "something serious" but the results were negative. It looks like a concussion will be the likely diagnosis, Drew said. He has stopped working out and could have more tests Wednesday.

When asked how he feels about the chance his season is over, Drew said: "Not good. I know it's to that point and it's kind of disheartening. But at the same time, I've got to get this thing under control. That's the No. 1 goal. It's constantly with me."

I think right now we're kind of planning as if we're not going to have him . . . This is unfortunate. Tanaka set for tonight

Girardi reaffirmed that Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled for his first start Wednesday night since suffering a hamstring injury, but rain is in the forecast. "We'll have to see what the conditions are [today], but our plans are to start him right now," Girardi said. "I think we need to get him out there. If the conditions are horrible, they're not going to make us go out there.".

With Roger Rubin

New York Sports