KC@NYY: Gardner gets plunked, later exits game

NEW YORK -- The soft wrap on Brett Gardner's right ankle conceals what the Yankees speedster suspects is a somewhat nasty bruise, courtesy of a hit-by-pitch in Wednesday's 8-1 win over the Royals.

He didn't know for sure, because he wore it home after the game and hasn't peeled it off yet, but Gardner was happy to know that X-rays were negative and he could return to the Yankees' lineup on Friday against the Twins. He pinch-hit for Derek Jeter in the eighth inning of Thursday's 8-4 win over the Royals and flied out to center.

"I have to get some treatment and get it loosened up," Gardner said. "My legs are a big part of my game, and if I can't run, there's no sense in playing. Hopefully, I'll be able to run."

Gardner was drilled in the sixth inning Wednesday by a J.C. Gutierrez fastball, but the outfielder was more interested in learning that Jeter was reinstated to the Yankees' active roster on Thursday morning.

"Derek's coming back today? That's awesome," Gardner said. "I know it's been a long time coming. Just the other day he wanted to start the season on time and here we are, Game [92]. ... It's great to have him back, not only on the field but off the field. He'll be a big presence, and hopefully, he's in every game the rest of the year."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that if Gardner had been available in the series finale on Thursday, he would have batted Gardner leadoff, with Jeter hitting second and Robinson Cano third. Instead, Ichiro Suzuki claimed the leadoff spot.

Cashman: A-Rod won't return before July 22

Cashman updates A-Rod's rehab progress

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter may have been hurried back to the Bronx, but general manager Brian Cashman said that there is no chance Alex Rodriguez will rejoin the Yankees before July 22.

Rodriguez has played in six combined rehab games between Class A Charleston and Class A Tampa as he attempts to return from offseason left hip surgery, and Cashman said that A-Rod will require the full 20 days of Minor League action permitted for position players.

"In his case, I think I stated in the beginning of his rehab process that he would get the full 20 days," Cashman said. "He's in the middle of his rehab process, and it's going to go all the way to the end. He's coming off a very complicated surgery.

"There's a reason he's in A ball, and there's a reason we were able to put Derek in Triple-A right from the start; because Derek was obviously much farther along than where Alex was. I think [Wednesday] was probably the best day of Alex's rehab, so far as reported to me by our people, but he'll take the full 20 days and that's where he's at."

Rodriguez was 1-for-3 with an RBI single as Tampa's designated hitter on Wednesday. He is 2-for-15 with a run, one RBI, a walk and a hit-by-pitch entering play on Thursday, having appeared at third base four times and DH twice.

Bombers bits

• The Yankees have been reluctant to play Eduardo Nunez at any position other than shortstop, but Cashman said that it is possible they may consider using Nunez more at third base now that Jeter has returned. The team views Nunez as a shortstop, but because of his athleticism, he could again help out at third base as well as the outfield.

• On this date in 1939, Yankee Stadium played host to its first All-Star Game when the seventh Midsummer Classic was played in the Bronx. Led by 10 Yankees All-Stars, the American League posted a 3-1 win, with Joe DiMaggio belting a solo home run.