Conversations and questions about injured Yankees sluggers Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran have waxed and waned with the same frequency that New York has won and lost. But as concerns over a slumping offense continued during a 5-2, 10-inning loss to the American League-best Athletics in the series opener Tuesday, the Yanks had reason for optimism.
After missing two games with right wrist discomfort, Teixeira was inserted back into the lineup and drove in both runs, including a solo homer to left in the sixth inning. Before the game, there was also news that Beltran, recovering from a bone spur in his right elbow, could be back with the Yankees for their upcoming road trip that begins this weekend.
"You can't sit around and wait for guys to come back," said Derek Jeter. "You've got to find ways to win without them. Home runs are nice because you score runs quickly, but if you don't have guys doing it, you've got to find other ways to score."
With just eight extra-base hits in the last five games, the Yankees realize being creative on the basepaths and stringing multiple hits together is the only other way to produce runs.
"What you don't want to do is run into outs just because you do some crazy things," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "I think you have to pick your opportunities to run, and we try to take advantage."
They'll need pitching, too, especially against an Oakland team that has homered in 11 straight games. Vidal Nuno (1-2, 5.48 ERA) will aim to pitch at least six innings for the fourth straight game after losing his last outing to the Twins in which he surrendered three home runs.
The A's will counter with Jesse Chavez, who took a loss in his last start against the Tigers, allowing three runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts Thursday.
After opening the 2014 campaign by going 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in April, Chavez came back to earth in May. In five starts, the righty went 2-3 with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.
"The big thing for me is don't prolong the at-bat," said Chavez. "Get three pitches or less, or pick the time to choose to nibble. Other than that, just three pitches or less to each hitter, and try to outlast the other starter. That's my goal."
The A's are 8-3 in his starting assignments. The righty's only two career appearances against the Yankees came in relief, resulting in 7 2/3 scoreless innings.
Yankees: Sizemore returns, in lineup right away
Scott Sizemore returned for his second stint with the big league club on Tuesday, as the infielder was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Sizemore, 29, was immediately placed in the lineup against Athletics starter Scott Kazmir, batting seventh and playing third base. The right-handed batter was hitting .265 with one home run and 16 RBIs in 40 games at Triple-A. He went 1-for-3 Tuesday and made a splendid play in the field.
"I'm glad to get in there, and hopefully I can help the team out," Sizemore said. "Obviously you could hope for more playing time, but I think if you do what you're supposed to do and maybe open some eyes and make them have to keep you there, that's the ultimate goal as a guy in my situation."
Girardi said that the team made the move to call up Sizemore because the Yanks will be facing some left-handed starters in their upcoming schedule, starting in the Oakland series with Kazmir on Tuesday and Drew Pomeranz on Thursday.
A's: Cook activated, rejoins bullpen
Righty Ryan Cook was activated from the disabled list Tuesday, joining the A's in time for a three-game set in New York.
Cook, who took the roster spot of the DL-bound Josh Reddick, missed nearly a month of action because of a forearm strain, having already spent the first week of the season on the DL with shoulder tendinitis.
He'll likely be eased back into his typical setup role.
"He's full-go, yet he's been off for a little bit and had the one rehab game, so we'll try to ease him back in," said manager Bob Melvin. "We won't stick him in the ninth with a one-run lead. Now, you say that, and he ends up coming in during an extra-inning game with the bases loaded or something like that, but the plan is to ease him in one time before we get him into a prominent role."
• The Yankees' Thursday starter, Masahiro Tanaka, has recorded quality starts in each of his 11 outings this year, the longest active streak of its kind in the Majors.
• The Yanks' Michael Pineda was moved to the 60-day disabled list, still working out a back strain. "We think that he's going to be out for 60 days completely, and it creates a roster spot," Girardi said.
• Brandon Moss was back in the A's lineup Tuesday after missing a pair of games with a left calf strain. He proceeded to clobber two homers, one to put the A's ahead for good in the 10th.
Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.