Neck improved, Teixeira returns to lineup

First baseman goes 3-for-5 with two RBIs in Yankees' win

Neck improved, Teixeira returns to lineup

NEW YORK -- Three hours before the Yankees closed their series with the Phillies on Wednesday, manager Joe Girardi didn't know if he'd have Mark Teixeira available. Then Teixeira deemed his neck loose enough to play, and Girardi slotted him in his usual cleanup spot in the lineup.

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Teixeira carried on in typical fashion, going 3-for-5 and driving in a pair of runs as the Yankees beat the Phillies, 10-2.

"Missing two games isn't any fun," Teixeira said. "Getting back out there and getting some hits is good."

Garrett Jones replaced Teixeira at first base for the ninth inning, but Girardi said afterward it was just a precautionary decision with the Yanks comfortably ahead. The first baseman had missed the first two games of the series with a stiff neck. The Yankees hadn't considered a stint on the disabled list for Teixeira, but Girardi admitted he'd start to worry if Teixeira couldn't play Wednesday.

"He's extremely important to our team, so it'd be nice to get him back in there," Girardi said Wednesday before knowing Teixeira's status.

Teixeira's RBI single

Teixeira said the neck had been an issue for two weeks, but he couldn't place exactly when it became one. An MRI came back with encouraging results, and Teixeira received a cortisone shot to help speed the healing process.

Girardi said he isn't sure if the neck issue is fully behind Teixeira, and they will continue to monitor it in the next few days.

"I expect it. Does that mean it's to happen? It's hard to predict," Girardi said. "Sometimes you jump or you have to dive for a ball and you jar yourself. But he felt good today, and that's a good sign."

Teixeira, 35, leads the Yankees in home runs (18) and RBIs (51) this season.

Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.