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Pregame notes: Teixeira hits; A-Rod fields

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Mark Teixeira [2]

Mark Teixeira first at-bats since March came in a simulated game at the Yankees minor league complex. It’s likely he’ll continued to play in simulated games for a while so that the Yankees can guarantee at-bats from both sides of the plate. It’s kind of like his own little simulated Grapefruit League down there.

“I guess you could look at it that way,” Joe Girardi said. “Or you can look at it as like a couple days before games where you’re facing some live BP. It’s definite progress for him. We want to see him have a lot of at-bats and see how the wrist responds to that. Today was the first step, so I’m really curious to see how he feels tomorrow.”

Teixeira wasn’t the only injured Yankee making progress in Tampa…

Although he fielded ground balls today — which seems like a significant step forward — Girardi cautioned that the timetable for Rodriguez hasn’t changed. His progress is going to have to be slow and step-by-step. “There’s a lot that has to happen,” Girardi said. “There’s a lot of hurdles. Two months from the All-Star break – less than that – so he’s going to have to go through basically a full spring training.”

Took batting practice and fielded ground balls, but he’s almost certainly a week away at best. “Is it possible we see him on this road trip? Maybe,” Girardi said. “But I would expect to see him maybe a little bit the following week if everything goes OK.”

Limited to roughly 60 pitches, Nova pitched 3.2 innings today. Girardi said the Yankees intentionally kept his pitch count limited. It’s clear they aren’t trying to rush him back, and Girardi said he’s not sure what’s next on the schedule. “We’ll talk about it,” Girardi said. “Whatever it is we know he needs a couple days off.”

Took dry swings and fielded grounders today, but Brian Cashman told the New York Post [3] that it will be another 10 days before the Yankees can even consider activating Nunez.

Chris Stewart [4]• Here in Baltimore, Chris Stewart said he no longer feels pain in his groin, but he can also tell it’s not 100 percent healed. Stewart doesn’t expect to play until Tampa, but Girardi said he would be willing to use Stewart as his emergency catcher tonight. “He felt no pain (doing tee and toss),” Girardi said. “But I think he’s aware that it’s there so I don’t think that it’s quite ready.”

• Derek Jeter is out of his walking boot but still not doing much, according to Girardi.

• Girardi said he liked the idea of giving Vernon Wells two consecutive days off, and this seemed like a good time to do it facing Freddy Garcia after last night’s rain out. “Left-handers have had a lot more success off of Freddy than right-handers, so let’s just do it today,” Girardi said.

• Phil Hughes gets the ball tomorrow, trying to rebound from last week’s two-out, seven-run debacle. Hughes said that video showed he was getting on the side of the ball, something that happens to him when he overthrows. No drastic change, just has to keep himself under control tomorrow.

• Speaking of starting pitchers, tonight CC Sabathia gets the ball on extra rest, which isn’t always great for him. “If you get two or three extra days, you worry a little bit,” Girardi said. “He’s had extra days before. Hopefully it makes him a little bit stronger. These guys have been going at it pretty hard and we’re going to have another long stretch after this. It’s not such a bad thing.”

Associated Press photos