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Heathcott to DL with strained right quad

Yankees rookie center fielder likely out close to month

OAKLAND -- A week that started with Slade Heathcott celebrating his first career big league hit will conclude with the rookie outfielder heading to the disabled list, thanks to a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps.

Heathcott picked up six hits in his first 17 at-bats (.353) after being summoned from the Minors to fill in for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury, and will be replaced on the active roster by outfielder Ramon Flores, who should be in Oakland on Saturday.

"I was surprised by the diagnosis," Heathcott said. "I thought it was something that was manageable, just a little bit more sore. Obviously there's a reason why."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Heathcott is expected to miss more than the minimum 15 days, and will likely be out closer to a month.

Video: TEX@NYY: Heathcott's grounder nets first career RBI

"It's still up in the air. It's going to be however I feel," Heathcott said. "I'll do everything I possibly can to be back as fast as possible, but also be back 100 percent."

Girardi said that he plans to use Brett Gardner in center field when Flores, mostly a left fielder, is in the lineup. Chris Young will also see reps in center.

"It will be kind of like what I did with Slade," Girardi said. "We'll see how the kid does. It could be a platoon situation. There's a lot of different things we could do. We'll see how the kid does."

Heathcott made his first big league appearance May 20 as a pinch-runner in the Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Nationals, and notched his first hit -- a double -- off the Rangers' Colby Lewis on May 22.

He said that he aggravated the quad while pursuing Prince Fielder's second home run on May 23, but was able to stay in the lineup long enough to hit his first homer off the Royals' Greg Holland on Monday.

"Hey, it's been awesome," Heathcott said. "Obviously it's frustrating, but it's just another speed bump to me. I've been up and down, faced a lot bigger challenges than a quad. I'm just going to rehab it, get it back and figure out what I can do to make sure it doesn't come back."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
Read More: New York Yankees, Slade Heathcott, Chris Young, Brett Gardner