The All-Star missed his first game of the season on Wednesday with a stiff neck. Cano walked in his lone at-bat.
"As the day went on, he had a ton of treatment; he just felt he could give us an at-bat," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I took advantage of it."
Girardi believes Cano woke up with the neck stiffness and had said Wednesday that Cano was day to day. The manager wasn't sure during his media session earlier Thursday if he would have the slugger and ultimately decided to try to give him another day to rest.
"It's never easy to give Robbie a day but if you have to do it, you're forced to do it," Girardi said before the game. "Obviously, I like the way that we are playing and we were able to win a game without him (Wednesday). It's hard not writing his name in that lineup."
With the Yankees trailing 9-6 in the eighth, Cano pinch hit with two outs and worked a walk. Ichiro Suzuki followed with a double and it looked like Cano could have scored, but an apparent miscommunication between him and third base coach Rob Thomson kept Cano at third.
Raul Ibanez struck out as the potential tying run and Texas went on to avoid the four-game sweep.
Cano is hitting .311 with 25 home runs and 68 RBIs. He didn't talk to the media after Thursday's loss. Jayson Nix started at second the past two days and went 3 for 7 with a run scored.
Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com