Alex Rodriguez back in Yankees lineup

Alex Rodriguez scored three runs and felt good following his return to the lineup Thursday in the Yankees' 22-9 win against Oakland. Rodriguez had missed the previous two games with a thumb injury and went 2-for-4 with two singles and two walks Thursday before being pulled following the seventh inning.

"For me, the first day or two is all about overcoming the fear (of) is something (going) to break, is something going to hurt," Rodriguez said. "After my first at-bat, I felt pretty good and was good after that."

Rodriguez missed the first two games of the series against the A's after jamming his left thumb while fielding a ground ball on Sunday against Minnesota. X-rays on Tuesday were negative and Rodriguez had been day to day with the injury.

Rodriguez started his day with a strikeout, but responded with back-to-back singles before two straight walks. He lined out sharply to third in the seventh with the bases loaded before being pulled from the game with the Yankees having a 16-7 lead at the time.

While Rodriguez had problems gripping a bat Tuesday, he said he had no problems doing so Thursday. He wore some protective wrap around his thumb during the game.

"It wasn't an issue and it was working around the clock with (Gene Monahan) and (Steve Donahue) and I got some good treatment and it today it felt pretty good," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez was penciled into the lineup early in the day, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the team would evaluate Rodriguez after warm-ups and see if he was ready to play after missing the previous two games with a sprained thumb. He passed the test and was batting fourth and playing third base.

After being scratched on Tuesday, Rodriguez said he felt better on Wednesday and the swelling had gone down, allowing him to put a glove on his left hand. He took about 30 swings in the batting cage, 15 coming off a tee and 15 in soft toss, but still found himself out of the lineup.

The thumb injury has been another setback in what has been a rough season in terms of health for Rodriguez. The 36-year-old went on the disabled list on July 14, retroactive to July 8, after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. After missing 38 games, Rodriguez finally returned to action on Sunday against Minnesota. He went 0-for-5 in the Yankees' win.

Rodriguez said his knee felt fine Thursday and said the extra days of rest he got benefited his knee. He is now 2-for-9 since his return and the Yankees are 2-0 with him in the lineup.

"He looked much better," Girardi said of Rodriguez.

Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.