DETROIT -- The Yankees got to Detroit about 2:15 this morning and by the time they arrived at their hotel, got to bed around 3:30. Most of the players staggered into the clubhouse after 10 a.m. and many reported getting about five hours sleep. Still, the mood was upbeat before the game, for several reasons:
HIRO-IC RECOVERY: Hiroki Kuroda, clipped on the middle finger of his pitching hand Wednesday night by a line drive that forced him to leave the game, threw 36 pitches out of the bullpen this morning and pitching coach Larry Rothschild reported that provided he has no pain tomorrow, Kuroda should be able to make his next scheduled start on Monday in Cleveland. "He had no problems at all, he threw all his pitches," Rothschild said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow." If Kuroda can't go, Joe Girardi will start either Adam Warren, or maybe even Phil Hughes, who is scheduled to make a minor league start tomorrow.
TEX ON TRACK: As he walked into the clubhouse this morning, Mark Teixeira got a hearty chuckle out of an MLB Network report that said he was "likely to come back sooner than expected" from his wrist tendon injury. "I don't know where that came from," he said. "Do they know something I don't know?"
Tex, who intends to travel with the team until he is cleared to return to baseball activities -- which he will do in Tampa -- said his timetable had not changed.
"Eight weeks is still my timetable," he said. "And May 1 is right around eight weeks. I think it’s actually eight weeks and a day, so that’s kind of a nice, round number for me.”"
Teixeira said his wrist "feels better every day" and he could be cleared as soon as next Friday, when he sees the Yankees doctors after the team returns home from its current road trip. "If there'’s no pain, then I can start swinging a fungo bat and make those progressions. There's still a little bit of soreness in there, but I can move it around a lot better. There’'s not that everyday soreness. I don'’t have to be careful putting on my shirt."
WELCOME BACK, BOESCH: As expected, the Yankees got booed during the pregame introductions, with one notable exception: ex-Tiger Brennan Boesch, who got a nice ovation as he trotted out to the first-base line. Boesch is making his first start as a Yankee today, but Girardi said it was more a case of giving Vernon Wells a day off than giving Boesch a special homecoming. “"I don’t want him to get too up for that," Girardi said. "That’'s a concern, but he’'s had some success against [Tigers starter Doug] Fister, and that played into it.”"
The manager also dropped a nickname on his right fielder. That's right. Boesch-y.