Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: August 29, 9:55 AM ET
Alex Rodriguez takes batting practice
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez took live batting practice on Tuesday afternoon, the first time he's done so since fracturing his left hand on July 24 against the Seattle Mariners.
General manager Brian Cashman said on ESPN NewYork 98.7's "The Michael Kay Show" that if everything goes well, Rodriguez could begin a minor league rehab stint over the weekend. Cashman added that he believes A-Rod can be back earlier than mid-September, but also didn't want to put a firm date on it.
"So far, so good," Rodriguez said. "My legs are coming under me, and I see light at the end of the tunnel. My expectation is to come back at full strength and help this team win."
Rodriguez, who also ran the bases and fielded ground balls, will have a similar workout on Wednesday. He doesn't have a target date for his return, but would like to get a couple minor league rehab games in before he rejoins the Yankees.
"I don't know if that's gonna be possible," Rodriguez said.
A-Rod suffered the injury when he was drilled in the hand by Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez. Rodriguez is hitting .276 with 15 home runs and 44 RBIs.
Meanwhile, first baseman Mark Teixeira will be out at least a week -- possibly two -- after suffering a Grade 1 strain of his left calf in the team's 8-7 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night.
Teixeira cannot participate in any baseball-related activities right now. He said the plan is to continue to treat the injury. Manager Joe Girardi said Teixeira could be out anywhere from "seven, eight to 15 days." Girardi added that if the rosters weren't expanding on Saturday, the first baseman could be put on the DL. But it appears as though the Yankees will carry one fewer player until then since they only have three games left before Sept. 1.
Teixeira suffered the injury trying to run to first after hitting a foul ball in the fourth inning.
During that same at-bat, he coaxed a walk and limped home from second base on catcher Russell Martin's RBI single to right. Teixeira then headed into the clubhouse and was forced to leave the game.
As a method of comparison, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter suffered a Grade 1 calf strain last season and missed nearly three weeks, but Teixeira is optimistic he'll be able to return sooner. Teixeira is batting .255 with 23 home runs and 81 RBIs.
Nick Swisher will start at first base in Teixeira's absence on Tuesday night against Toronto. Steve Pearce, acquired in a trade from the Houston Astros, will serve as the designated hitter and bat cleanup, normally Teixeira's spot in the batting order. Pearce and Eric Chavez can also play first.
To make room for Pearce, the Yankees optioned corner infielder Casey McGehee to Class A Charleston. Girardi said the reason McGehee was sent there was because he can come back up quicker -- Sept. 4, according to Cashman.
Left-hander Andy Pettitte threw on flat ground on Tuesday, a significant development as he tries to recover from a fractured ankle, which has sidelined him since June 27. Girardi said the hope is Pettitte throws an official bullpen session on Friday or Saturday.
Pettitte suffered the injury during his last start against the Cleveland Indians when he was struck in the ankle by a line drive. He had a setback in his initial rehab attempt, which is why the Yankees are going to be cautious with him. Pettitte long has been targeting early September for his return.
Cashman thinks he could be back somewhere in mid-September after a couple rehab starts.
Pettitte is 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA in nine starts.
Cashman also thinks that right-hander Ivan Nova, on the DL since Aug. 23 with inflammation in his right rotator cuff, should be back sometime mid-September, as well. Cashman thinks Nova will need anywhere from 20-30 days from the time of the injury to return, which makes that target time realistic.
Nova is 11-7 with a 4.92 ERA in 25 starts.
Cashman doesn't expect A-Rod or Pettitte to be at their normally productivity levels when they return.
"Alex's first day back he's not gonna be firing at all cylinders," the GM said. "Just like Andy's first day back, in theory, he won't be firing on all cylinders."