Teixeira could be swinging for Yankees soon
CLEVELAND — Mark Teixeira isn’t dreading his next doctor’s visit. He’s actually excited about it.
New York’s star first baseman said he expects to be cleared to begin swinging a bat as early as Friday in his recovery from a wrist injury that will sideline him for the first month of the season. Teixeira has been on the disabled list since March 31 with a torn sheath in his right wrist.
When the Yankees return to New York on Friday, Teixeira will be examined by Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser, the team’s hand and wrist specialist, at Yankee Stadium before the series opener against Baltimore.
“I’m confident the doctor will let me take swings tomorrow,” Teixeira said Thursday in New York’s clubhouse before the Yankees had the finale of their rain-shortened series against the Indians postponed. “I feel great and I’m getting better every day. There’s no pain. I could not be happier with the progress. The plan is to take BP for a week – it could make my wrist sore as part of the process – but that is a definite milestone.”
It’s more encouraging news for the Yankees, who have gotten positive reports this week on All-Stars Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson.
Jeter has resumed on-field hitting at the team’s training complex in Tampa, Fla., after being shut down last month by soreness in the left ankle he broke in the playoffs last October. Granderson, who broke his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch during spring training, was able to remove a stabilizing brace on Thursday and throw.
“That’s big,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Granderson. “That means the bone has healed and it’s just the rehab process and getting him to where he can play in some games and getting him back here. It’s real encouraging.”
Granderson posted a photo of his wrist on his Facebook page. “Brace is finally off for non-baseball activities,” he wrote. “Another step closer!”
Girardi has been watching videotape of Jeter’s workouts and said he’s gotten favorable reports.
“I think he’s OK,” Girardi said when asked for the latest on the Yankees’ captain. “I didn’t get any alarming news.”
The Yankees and Indians were washed out two straight days, cutting a four-game series down to two. No makeup date was announced, but both teams have a common open date on May 13, when they will likely play a doubleheader.
“Everybody was looking at the radar for a window,” said Phil Hughes, who had his second start of the season postponed.
Hughes will not pitch until Tuesday against Arizona as Girardi will stick with his scheduled starters – CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte – over the next three days. After coming to the ballpark on Thursday to work out, the trio returned to New York ahead of their teammates.
Teixeira, who turned 33 on Thursday, said his rehabilitation program is on schedule. When his injury was diagnosed March 6, the Yankees estimated he would need at least eight weeks to recover. If he receives the go-ahead from Rosenwasser, Teixeira expects to spend New York’s six-game, seven-day homestand working his way from dry swings to hitting with a fungo bat and then soft tosses.
“Hopefully, the first day we’re in Toronto (April 19), I’ll take BP on the field with the team,” said Teixeira, who has 338 career home runs. “Then, when we go to Tampa (April 22), I’ll stay there and play some simulated games and some in extended spring training. Hopefully, I’ll be back with the team after that.”
Girardi was excited to hear the five-time Gold Glove winner was moving toward a return to New York’s lineup.
“So far, so good,” he said. “Everything has been positive in his rehab. The true steps are going to be in the swinging part. He’s been strengthening it and he was in that brace for a while but everything has been encouraging so far.”
Teixeira joked that once he arrives in Florida he may have to take extra precautions when facing some of the Yankees’ pitching prospects.
“We’ll tell those young guys to throw straight and away,” Teixeira said, laughing. “We’ve got to protect our arms and wrists down there.”
Teixeira blamed his injury on “overuse,” and said he would cut back on his work load in the batting cage going forward. He has not yet been cleared to throw, but isn’t concerned.
“I make like two throws a week, so there is no reason to stretch it, but I don’t see it being a problem,” he said. “I take so many swings being a switch-hitter. I’m going to emphasize quality over quantity from now on.”
A career .279 hitter, Teixeira is wearing compression wraps on both wrists during his recovery, but he’ll just tape them – for the first time in his career – once he begins playing in games.
Teixeira is in the fifth season of an eight-year, $180 million contract with the Yankees, who signed him as a free agent in 2009. He batted .251 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs in 123 games last season.