Girardi hopes A-Rod can return Tuesday

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez was not in the New York Yankees' lineup on Sunday for the second consecutive game because of a sore right hip, but the Yankees say he could return against the Philadelphia Phillies following the team's regularly scheduled day off.

"My hope is that we have him on Tuesday," said manager Joe Girardi, who was unsure if Rodriguez would be the designated hitter or third baseman when he is ready to play.

Ramiro Pena was the Yankees' starting third baseman for Sunday's game vs. the Houston Astros. He delivered a two-run single in the Yankees' 9-5 win.

Rodriguez had an MRI on Friday that revealed tendinitis in his right hip flexor. The injury is a concern for the Yankees, but Rodriguez and the team say that the groin tightness he's been feeling doesn't appear to be related to last year's hip surgery.

"I think anytime you get where you're looking in that region, you're going to start thinking about what happened the year before," Girardi said on Saturday. "But being something completely different than the hip socket makes you feel a lot better."

Rodriguez left New York's 4-3 loss at Baltimore on Thursday night after one inning, hampered by tightness in his groin for the second time in a couple of days.

Girardi said Rodriguez "didn't really have a problem" until he played a 14-inning game on turf in Toronto last Saturday, which was a day game after a night game.

The three-time AL MVP is batting .290 with eight homers and 43 RBIs.

Meanwhile, 38-year-old catcher Jorge Posada was behind the plate Sunday for the first time since May 16. He hit a grand slam for the second straight day.

The Yankees also called up outfielder Chad Huffman, who is starting in right field, and put Nick Swisher at DH. Reserve outfielder Marcus Thames was placed on the DL because of a lingering hamstring injury.

Since June 2, when Posada came off the DL after fracturing his foot, he has only been the DH. Girardi said Posada would mix DH-ing with catching going forward. The manager would not detail how he planned to divide Posada's time.

Thames said he has been receiving treatment on the hamstring for about a week, but it worsened on Saturday. He felt like he was running in "slow motion."

"It's a mild strain," said Thames, who thinks he will be able to come off the DL in two weeks.

Huffman has had a roller-coaster year. He was let go by the Padres and then picked up by the Yankees in April and sent to Scranton-Wilkes Barre, where he was batting .279 with five homers and 22 RBIs. "You have to keep yourself even-keeled," he said.

The 25-year-old Huffman, from Missouri City, Texas -- which is outside of Houston -- was excited to be making his big-league debut against the Astros. He said after he found out Saturday night, a large contigent of his family made the trip from Houston. Huffman can play the corner outfield spots and first base.

Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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