- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Alex Rodriguez is back and Mark Teixeira is out for the Yankees - though they hope Teixeira will miss only a few games.

Rodriguez, on the disabled list since May 4 with a strained right hamstring, returned to the lineup in Thursday’s loss to Toronto, batting fifth.

Teixeira, meanwhile, missed his second straight game with a neck problem, with manager Joe Girardi expecting the first baseman to sit out at least two more but hoping he won’t need a DL stint.

Teixeira received cortisone shots in multiple places in his neck Thursday, a day after an MRI showed inflammation but no serious damage. He also got cortisone shots - but in fewer spots - two weeks earlier after he missed a pair of games because of the same issue.

The 36-year-old switch-hitter said Thursday he’s dealt with neck and upper back tightness throughout his career, though massages usually kept it in check. He has difficulty turning his head and was noticeably stiff as he spoke to reporters.

“This just got too much,” he said.

In the final season of a $180 million, eight-year contract, Teixeira is batting .195 with three homers, four doubles and 12 RBIs.

“I’m not going to make any excuses,” he said. “If you’re out there, you have to perform.”

Rodriguez was activated off the DL after two rehab games for Double-A Trenton. He homered Wednesday night.

The 40-year-old slugger went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts Thursday in a 3-1 loss.

“I felt really good before I got hurt,” he said. “I’m confident I’m going to swing the bat well.”

He was hitting .194 before the injury but had homered three times in his last five games.

“I hope he picks up where he left off,” said Girardi, who plans to keep using Rodriguez as his primary designated hitter while ensuring he gets enough rest. “He was swinging the bat extremely well before he got hurt there. He started to get hot.”

The Yankees also placed left-handed reliever Chasen Shreve on the 15-day DL with a sprained shoulder joint Thursday. Shreve had a 5.21 ERA in 19 appearances and allowed two home runs in the seventh inning of an 8-4 loss Wednesday. He received a cortisone shot Thursday and won’t pick up a baseball for at least a week.

Along with the addition of Rodriguez and loss of Shreve, New York made three more moves Thursday, optioning infielder Rob Refsnyder to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, promoting lefty reliever Richard Bleier and releasing outfielder Slade Heathcott. The 29-year-old Bleier has never appeared in a major league game. The release of Heathcott made room for him on the 40-man roster.

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