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Martin Prado overcomes bad hamstring to contribute three hits

Martin Prado of the Yankees scores a fifth-inning

Martin Prado of the Yankees scores a fifth-inning run against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Martin Prado has seven gloves in his locker because he plays several positions. His favorite is the second baseman's glove he said he's been using for the last seven years.

The glove is so old and worn out, Prado said, that Wilson Sporting Goods is somewhat upset that its trademark "W'' is barely visible at this point.

"Do you think you can judge my character by my glove?" Prado playfully asked a reporter inside the Yankees' clubhouse before a recent game.

One can try. How's gritty, reliable, consistent and hardworking?

That's what Prado was Saturday, according to manager Joe Girardi and Brandon McCarthy, who started the Yankees' 6-2 win over the Royals at the Stadium.

Despite still feeling the effects of a strained left hamstring, Prado went 3-for-4 and scored two runs after missing three straight games.

"He's a big part of our lineup here," Girardi said. "We need to keep him out there and keep him going."

Girardi said he told Prado that he would have to "play smart" and "guard" the injury for at least the next few games. Prado's presence in the lineup was felt immediately, but his hamstring also was tested right away.

With two outs in the first inning, Prado doubled and then had to run hard to score on Mark Teixeira's single to centerfield. He obviously was laboring, but he made it.

"I was just like, please, let me get to home plate and let me figure out if I'm good or not," he said. "That was a big test out of the gate."

He had a similar test in the fifth. After doubling to left, Prado scored from second on a double by Carlos Beltran.

"I got that in the back of my head, but I want to be there for my teammates," Prado said. "It had been killing me having to see everybody grind it out, knowing that we have a good chance to do something special here."

Prado, who has solidified the second base position for the Yankees and also has played third base, leftfield and rightfield for them, was hitting .381 with four homers and 11 RBIs in his last 16 games heading into Saturday.

"The last 20 games or so, he's been unbelievable," Girardi said.

Despite not being able to run very well, Prado picked up where he left off. He owns a .292/.318/.500 slash line in 106 at-bats since joining the Yankees.

"He's one of those guys who's basically a pain in the butt at the plate,'' McCarthy said. "It's like Jeter was in his prime.''

If the Yankees were not in the hunt for the postseason, Prado said, he might have taken an additional couple of days off. He made it clear, though, that if he's able to play at "80 percent," he's the type who will play regardless of where the team is in the standings.

"I'm a guy who always want to play 100 percent, but in this case, I'm trying to be smart," Prado said. "But I want to be there for my teammates. I'm at a stage where I can't tell you if I'm 70 percent, 80 percent, but the way I'm playing right now, it feels normal."

New York Sports