Eric Chavez looks on against the Seattle Mariners. (July 27,...

Eric Chavez looks on against the Seattle Mariners. (July 27, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

TAMPA, Fla. -- In responding to a question about how he might rotate the designated hitter spot, Joe Girardi Tuesday inadvertently referred to a player not in camp: Eric Chavez, with whom the Yankees had been negotiating but not signed.

That got taken care of Tuesday night as Chavez agreed to a one-year deal, worth $900,000 plus incentives, according to a source, to return as a reserve infielder. The deal will not become official until Chavez, who has missed significant time in each of the last five seasons because of various injuries, passes a physical. Chavez, 34, hit .263 (.320 OBP) with two homers and 26 RBIs in 58 games last season, spending May 6-July 25 on the DL with a fractured left foot.

Jones' knee mending

Andruw Jones said he's ready for "whatever," which as of now is likely a role similar to one he filled last season with the Yankees.

But physically, he can handle more. Jones, 34, played much of 2011 with a small tear in his left knee, which was operated on in October.

"I played throughout the year with it," Jones said yesterday. "A lot of treatment, draining, cortisone shots, stuff like that and I just grinded through it. When they went in there, they said it was pretty bad and I was lucky to play the whole season with it."

Jones hit .247 with 13 homers and 33 RBIs in 77 games.

Extra bases

Joba Chamberlain will throw off a full mound Wednesday for the first time in his rehab . . . The Yankees officially announced the signing of Raul Ibañez . . . YES Network will announce Wednesday that Lou Piniella has joined its roster of analysts.

With Neil Best

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