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Tex hopes to provide Yanks with stability at first

ST. PETERSBURG -- Mark Teixeira is hoping to restore some normalcy to the Yankees' first-base position, as the five-time Gold Glove Award winner was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Sunday's 5-1 extra-innings win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Teixeira strained his right hamstring on April 4 in Toronto, and in his absence, the Yankees were forced to use a mishmash of fill-in first basemen. Kelly Johnson entered the season with three career games at first base, while Francisco Cervelli and Scott Sizemore had never played the position before this season.

"They did a great job," Teixeira said. "We have a lot of good athletes over there, guys who have played all over the infield. It's not like we took a big DH and threw him over there and said, 'Good luck.' So those guys did great."

Teixeira, who batted fifth on Sunday, was 2-for-6 with a fielding error in the contest -- his third miscue in five games this season. Still, Teixeira said that his hamstring felt fine, and noted that he would have fought harder to stay in the lineup if the injury had happened later in the season.

"It felt good pretty much right away," Teixeira said. "I wasn't sprinting, that's the thing. What you don't want to do is push it too early, and we didn't. We were really smart about it, and it feels good."

Teixeira's return creates some uncertainty for hot-hitting rookie Yangervis Solarte. Manager Joe Girardi had Solarte penciled in the lineup on Sunday, playing third base, and it is possible that Solarte and Johnson could platoon at third base. Solarte could also see time at second base as a super sub behind Brian Roberts.

"All these guys are going to play. I think it's important that they all play, that you keep them all fresh, that you make sure that they're all involved in case you do have an injury or something," Girardi said.

"With the age on our team, I think that everyone is going to play. There will be plenty of opportunities to play everybody. Just think about how much [Ichiro Suzuki] has played already."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
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