However, Sheffield, who went 0-for-3 with two walks in the Yankees' 7-5 win, told reporters that he considered surgery on his left hand that would have kept him out four to six weeks.
"I've talked to a lot of players that have had this injury, and they ask, 'Why don't you have it taken out?' " Sheffield told reporters. "But that went away real fast. I don't have time for surgery. Not anymore."
The Yankees held off on activating Sheffield and inserting him in the lineup until after Sheffield tested OK in batting practice.
"He's certainly a threat. He helps everybody around him," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Sheffield is a force in there and I think it helps the personality of the ballclub."
Right-hander Colter Bean was designated for assignment to make room for Sheffield, who went on the DL on May 5 with a sprained left wrist and hand. His absence has become more glaring with the injuries to fellow outfielders Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Bubba Crosby.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona had hoped to escape Sheffield but wasn't so lucky.
"I thought he should have rehabbed more," Francona joked before the game. "I'd hate to see him come back and get hurt."
Sheffield went 1-for-3 with an RBI during a minor league rehab game Monday night, singling on the first pitch he saw as the designated hitter for the Trenton Thunder in an Eastern League game against the New Britain Rock Cats. He also had a sacrifice fly, struck out swinging and hit into a fielder's choice before being pulled for a pinch hitter in the eighth.
Torre said he left it up to Sheffield to decide whether he needed another day of rehab.
"I do trust him," the manager said. "He certainly doesn't want to jeopardize not being able to play."
Sheffield was hurt when he collided with Toronto first baseman Shea Hillenbrand on April 29. He missed the next three games, pinch hit in another and made one more start before going on the DL.
"There's a big difference from that day," Sheffield said. "I wasn't being realistic [trying to come back] that day."
Matsui and Crosby are still on the 15-day disabled list, and Damon is nursing a sore foot. The former Red Sox standout was in the lineup as designated hitter for the series opener Monday night and back in center Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.