David Adams has gone from being released by the Yankees in March to starting at third base for them last night in their 12-2 loss to the Mariners after they designated Chris Nelson for assignment.

Adams’ first major league hit was a single in the sixth and he played well at third.

“I’m nowhere where I need to be, but I think I’m making strides,” Adams said.

Before yesterday’s promotion from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Adams probably was best known as the player whose injured right ankle helped derail the trade that could have landed the Yankees Cliff Lee from Seattle in 2010.

“I never thought anything of it,” Adams said of the potential trade that was called off by the Mariners when they found he had a fractured ankle with bone fragments. “Trades fall through all the time.”

Since then, Adams has battled other health issues, including a back problem that led to his release in spring training.

Though the Yankees still liked Adams, they needed to make room on the roster when they acquired Vernon Wells.

Adams said he was caught off guard by his release.

“Absolutely, but I understood where they were coming from,” said Adams, who turned 26 yesterday and had re-signed with the Yankees because he thought they provided the quickest path to the majors because of their injuries. “I was hurt and they needed guys to come in.”

Manager Joe Girardi said he intends to play Adams regularly, despite his previous back problems, which included back spasms that cost him a month last season.

“I don’t think back issues ever go away,” Girardi said. “They’re always there. But he’s managed it really well.”