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Teixeira: “I don’t know how long it’s going to take”

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Mark Teixeira [2]Doesn’t happen often that the Yankees send an email to beat writers explaining media access for extended spring training games and workouts at the minor league complex.

But they sent that email yesterday.

It’s time for the Yankees to truly divide their attention between what’s happening with the big league club and what’s happening in Tampa. Curtis Granderson has been playing in extended spring training games for a few days now, and now Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Cervelli and Ivan Nova have flown to Florida to join him.

That group of newcomers won’t immediately jump into games — Rodriguez, in particular, is nowhere near game-ready — but those are some key players making significant steps down in the warm weather.

“I need my timing,” Teixeira said. “It could take 150 at bats — a lot of years it does — but I can’t answer (exactly how many at-bats are necessary). I don’t know how long it’s going to take. I’m sure between the doctors, the coaches, they’re all going to make sure that physically I’m all right, and then if the results are there. If I’m striking out and popping up every time up the first few games, they’re not going to be like, ‘All right, he feels good, so he’s ready.’ We’ll just kind of play that by ear.”

Return dates are still tough to predict. Granderson is actively playing in games, but even his timetable is unclear, Teixeira has guessed anywhere one week to three weeks before he’ll be ready to return, and Youkilis never thought he was heading for the disabled list to begin with. So there’s still some waiting to do, but there’s plenty of reason to keep our attention divided.

It’s going to be a slow process — Teixeira told reporters in Tampa that he’s not going to take batting practice [3] on the field today — but there are at least some far-away signs of players beginning to get healthy.

“If we keep getting the pitching that we’re getting, it makes everyone’s job easier,” Teixeira said. “You guys have been around long enough, you know pitching is the name of the game. You have to score runs, but you don’t have to score 10 every night. If CC goes out and pitches a complete game and gives up one or two, we don’t have to score too much. When Curtis and I get back, and Alex and Youk and all these guys get back, we hope to score a lot of runs. We’re a team that is used to scoring a lot of runs. We’ve been doing a great job so far.”

Associated Press photo