Mark Teixeira took the next step in his recovery from a partially-torn tendon sheath in his right wrist when he was cleared to swing a bat underwater -- that is, in a pool with the water up to his shoulders, an exercise the Yankees' trainers consider less traumatic to the wrist than just, um, swinging a bat.
"I just do what I'm told," a laughing Teixeira said in the Yankees clubhouse before Wednesday night's game against the Diamondbacks.
New York Yankees
Assuming all goes well, Teixeira will progress to so-called "dry swings" -- swinging a bat at an imaginary pitch, on dry land, of course. That's the next step on a checklist that includes tee-and-toss hitting, cage hitting, live batting practice and eventually, real at-bats in real games.
Teixeira will accompany the Yankees on their next road trip, to Toronto and Tampa. Assuming the progression proceeds without a setback, he will then stay behind in Tampa to eventually play in extended spring training games at the Yankees' minor-league complex before rejoining the team, presumably sometime in May. He suffered the injury on March 7 swinging a bat in an indoor batting cage during practice for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. The original prognosis was that he would miss 8-10 weeks, which would place his return between May 7 and May 21, a timetable that has not been significantly altered.
Teixeira hopes to move up to batting practice while the Yankees are in Toronto over the weekend, or at worst by Monday when the team arrives in Tampa for three games against the Rays.
"It all depends on the next few days," Teixeira said. "I can’t tell you because I don’t know how it’s going to respond."
In Teixeira's absence, Lyle Overbay and Kevin Youkilis -- who is starting at first base Wednesday night -- have filled in adequately. And the Yankees' 7-5 record in their first 12 games seems to have lessened some of the urgency to rush Teixeira back.
"If we were 2-10 right now, I think everyone would be saying, 'Hey Tex when are you back?'" He said. "All of us have stepped up, have done a great job. You look at what the team is doing right now and I can't be more proud of how we've played. It's going to allow me to heal which is what I need to do."
Still, Joe Girardi said the absence of a switch-hitter like Teixeira has hamstrung him somewhat in filling out his daily lineup card.
"That makes it difficult, not having Tex and not having (Nick Swisher), because now you look at the way we’re made up, those guys (have been replaced by) lefthanders in a sense. That’s why we’ve had to move some guys around."
QUESTION: With the Yankees playing as well as they have, can you wait another month before Teixeira comes back?