Mark Teixeira hit inside yesterday. He hit inside earlier today, right now he’s taking batting practice on the field, and the plan is for him to be in the lineup tomorrow.
“If I wake up tomorrow and have back spasms (then it won’t happen),” Teixeira said. “But I don’t expect that to happen. I feel very good right now. I expect to have a very good BP today and be in there tomorrow. … The back spasms are gone, which I’ve been dealing with for a long time, so that’s really good. Good to see that the treatments worked, and the time off helped, so hopefully they won’t come back.”
Teixeira said this is the best he’s felt in “over a month” since the back problems first popped up. He and Joe Girardi each seem encouraged that they’ve made it very close to the finish line. He might even be available to pinch hit today. Teixeira said head trainer Steve Donohue just wanted to make sure he could handle hitting on back-to-back days.
“Then obviously tomorrow morning will be really important,” Girardi said.
This back issue has now cost Teixeira more than week. He’s also missed time this season with hamstring, knee, wrist and groin issues. Only one forced a DL stint — and that cost him just 14 games — but he’s also had his knee drained and gotten injections in both his wrist and back.
“It’s been frustrating,” Teixeira said. “I knew it was going to be a little bit of a challenge coming back from the wrist. I wasn’t expecting all the little annoying things that come up. That’s part of the game. Hopefully this is it, and I have two healthy months to finish the season, but missing a couple of games here, a couple of games there, it’s never fun.”
So what’s different now? Why isn’t he a guy who plays 155-160 games anymore?
“I was injured plenty,” Teixeira said. “I just played through it. I had major ankle surgery in college. Major quad tear in Texas in ’07. Knee surgery in ’07. Hurt my wrist in ’09. I’ve played through so many things. I can’t play through them anymore. That’s just the fact of the matter. The guys ask me, ‘How did you play in Texas for five years, 100 degrees every night?’ I was young. I was a kid. I played through everything. You fouled a pitch of your leg, go get ‘em. Strain something in your back, go get ‘em. That’s just the way it is when you’re young. I can’t play through those things (now). I don’t think I would have had to miss games with back spasms. I don’t think I would have missed games with the little tweak of my hamstring earlier in the season. Now I just can’t get through those anymore.”
• Jacoby Ellsbury is fine, just getting day off because Girardi wants to make sure he doesn’t get worn down. Ellsbury has needed some days here and there, and he’s getting one today. Sounds like Brett Gardner could also get a day during this series. “I’ve got to check with Gardy and see how he’s doing tomorrow,” Girardi said. “This long stretch — the heat, the day games, the 14-inning game — I don’t want one of these guys to get hurt. They’re really important to our lineup. So maybe Gardy will get a day off. Maybe he won’t, but maybe he will.”
• Wanting to give outfielders some days off is the reason Zoilo Almonte is up here. The Yankees finally needed a relatively full bench. “I just felt that we’ve been pushing these guys really really hard,” Girardi said.
• Carlos Beltran is still playing catch, and there are no problems so far. Girardi said he thinks Beltran could be an available sometime during the next home stand.
• Michael Pineda is scheduled for a three-inning game tomorrow. Girardi said he’s not sure whether it’s a simulated game or a rehab game, but the important detail is that Pineda is getting stretched out to three innings. Which means four innings should be next. Then five innings. Then the Yankees could, in theory, begin thinking about activating him. Girardi said the Yankees don’t necessarily need to get him lots of reps in minor league games. “As long as he feels good and is throwing the ball well, there’d be no reason not to bring him back,” Girardi said. “It’s the same as spring training. You build them up, when they’re ready to go, you send them.”
• Nothing new on Masahiro Tanaka two weeks after his injection. “We’re still waiting for that three-week mark,” Girardi said. “Nothing’s really going to change until the three week mark. He’s staying back and doing treatment every day. He feels better and better. You just kind of wait to see where you are after three weeks.”
• Chris Leroux has reported back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after being outrighted off the 40-man roster. Also, Triple-A starter Bryan Mitchell was named the International League Pitcher of the Week.
• Sounds like the Rangers are going to honor Derek Jeter on Wednesday. He did his usual pregame media routine today, and the questions from Texas reporters were really little different from the questions in other stops along the way. Reporters here in Arlington have big-picture Jeter stories to do, and it’s all stuff everyone who’s followed the Yankees closely has heard a million times. Did you know, for example, that Jeter enjoys competition and doesn’t want to make any specific plans upon retirement?
Associated Press photos