ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - A-Rod is back in the New York Yankees lineup after missing six weeks due to a hand injury.

Alex Rodriguez was the DH and batted fourth in the manager Joe Girardi's lineup for Monday's game against Tampa Bay. He hit a soft liner to short in his first at-bat leading off the second.

"I'm thrilled to be back," Rodriguez said. "You get the game taken away from you, you sure do feel like a little kid coming back."

Rodriguez has been out since breaking his left hand July 24. He went 0 for 7 in two rehabilitation appearances for Class A Tampa.

"The bone is fine," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "That's the thing about breaks is they heal usually completely. It's sprains and strains that you really worry about."

Girardi thinks Rodriguez could soon start at third.

"I might try to get him in the field one of the days," Girardi said. "Really, I've got to go day by day."

Two other injured starters are also nearing a return. Outfielder Curtis Granderson (hamstring) could start on Tuesday, while first baseman Mark Teixeira (calf) resumed on-field batting practice

"I feel like big brother was away for a while," Rodriguez said. "We have a couple of other brothers who are coming back soon, and I think we're right where we want to be. We're in first place. That's the bottom line."

While he is having a down year with only 15 home runs, New York is 19-18 without Rodriguez in the lineup.

"It's all about wins," Rodriguez said. "Whether that's a sacrifice fly, a walk, a three-run homer, whatever it takes to make this team better, that's what I'm willing to do. I'm not here to save the day. I'm here to be part of a winning team."