Mark Teixeira's stiff neck forced him to watch from the dugout as the Yankees got bullied two nights in a row by the team with the worst record in baseball.
"They were tough games," Teixeira said about the Yankees' 11-8 and 11-6 losses to the Phillies earlier this week. "We didn't hold them down very much."
As if he needed more incentive to get back in the lineup.
With a cortisone shot received Monday reducing the pain in his neck, Teixeira was reinserted into the four-hole Wednesday afternoon and promptly went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to lead the Yankees in their 10-2 win over the Phillies.
"I think that shot will work over the next few days and should clear it up," Teixeira said.
Teixeira singled to left in the bottom of the first inning and had RBI singles in the fourth and seventh. The three hits boosted Teixeira's batting average (.259) and on-base percentage (.369) to season highs. The two-RBIs performance gave him 51 for the year, good for third in the American League, behind only Stephen Vogt (53) and Miguel Cabrera (52).
"Anytime you're out there, you want to contribute," Teixeira said. "Missing two games isn't any fun. Getting back out there and getting some hits is good."
The 35-year-old first baseman, who had only sat out four games this season prior to the two he missed earlier this week, also looked light on his feet in the field. In a scoreless top of the second, Ryan Howard led off with a double against Ivan Nova. But from there, Teixeira made three consecutive putouts to help strand a runner in scoring position.
An MRI of the neck did not reveal any structural damage. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he believes Teixeira should remain healthy and in the lineup.
"I expect it. Does that mean it's going to happen? I can't predict," Girardi said. "Sometimes you jump or you have to dive for a ball. But he felt good today and that's a good sign.
"I think it will go away but there's a lot of physical actions in the game that sometimes can irritate things, but the MRI was pretty clean so we're pretty happy about that."