Two fairly significant bits of news came out of the pregame clubhouse: 1. Mark Teixiera believes he could be activated in a week, and 2. Ivan Nova is a reliever until further notice. The video above is Joe Girardi talking about the Nova decision, the text below is Teixeira talking about his rehab.
“If it was up to me, I would have been plying weeks ago,” Teixeira said. “But we really made sure there wasn’t any pain. They were like, ‘If it’s tight, if there’s any pain, you’re not allowed to swing hard.’ That took a long time. Once I got to swinging, I was letting it go. By the second or third day of swinging at full speed, I felt normal. I’ve been feeling great the last couple weeks.”
Teixeira is going to play first base and hit every inning — for at least the first five innings or so — of an extended spring training game tomorrow. He’ll take Sunday off, play extended spring training games again on Monday and Tuesday, then he’ll go to Double-A Trenton for a rehab assignment Wednesday and Thursday. Teixeira said he fully expects to need only those two rehab games before being activated.
The Yankees clarified that Teixeira is eligible to be activated on May 30. Teixeira is talking about being activated on Friday, which would be the 31st.
“We’ve really been doing a lot of work here,” Teixeira said. “A lot of simulated games, trying to make it as close to game situation as possible. We’ve been doing that for about a week here. … Four games next week, and then we’ll reevaluate after the two games in Trenton. Hopefully things go well and sometime at the end of next week I can join the team.”
• Kevin Youkilis is going to join Teixeira in tomorrow’s extended spring training game. Girardi said it’s “definitely possible” that Youkilis could also begin a rehab assignment next week. That fits with what Brian Cashman said yesterday. Basically, Teixeira and Youkilis seem to be on roughly the same schedule at this point, with the wild card being Youkilis’s back. “They’re both about at the same place, I think,” Girardi said. “The back’s a little tricky right now with Youk, but he’s making pretty good progress.”
• As for the Nova decision, Nova said he’s hoping to get back in the rotation soon, but for now he’s a long reliever. Girardi said he will try not to use Nova in the middle of an inning, and the Yankees like the idea of having Nova to backup Vidal Nuno tomorrow. “We believe this kid can really help us, and we’ve got to get him back on track,” Girardi said. “We’ll try it through the bullpen.”
• Obviously the decision to put Nova in the bullpen says a lot about Nova, but it also says a lot about David Phelps, who is starting today and has been awfully good since taking Nova’s spot in the rotation.
• Girardi said he doesn’t expect to have Adam Warren available tomorrow, but essentially the team is going to have two long relievers in Nova and Warren.
• Five more quick injury updates:
ANDY PETTITTE: Has played catch the past two days and plans to throw a bullpen tomorrow. If that goes well, Pettitte will throw a simulated game — or maybe an extended spring training game — rather than going on a rehab assignment. Girardi said he expects Pettitte to need only one sim game before being ready to rejoin the rotation.
EDUARDO NUNEZ: Girardi said Nunez will be ready to play in an extended spring training game “pretty quick” and indications are that Nunez is also fairly close to being ready.
JOBA CHAMBERLAIN: Scheduled to throw two innings or 30 pitches tomorrow. Sounds like he could be activated after that.
HIROKI KURODA: Right calf is a little sore, but no big deal. The Yankees fully expect him to make his next start. “I don’t have any doubts right now,” Girardi said.
CHRIS STEWART: Was able to run pregame and is back in the lineup. “My legs are a little weak just from sitting around for the last week, not being able to use them,” Stewart said. “But other than that, no, everything felt good and strong.”
• Girardi said the Yankees considered having Nova start tomorrow, but they preferred to keep Vidal Nuno in line to make that start. “That’s something that we talked about,” Girardi said. “Nuno did a very good job in his last start, so we’re going to stick with that. There could be something crazy that happens tonight that forces us to change our mind, but right now, that’s our plan.”
Associated Press photo