Mark Teixeira gets a hit: 'I'm trying to keep things very simple'

Yankees Mark Teixeira works out with the team

Yankees Mark Teixeira works out with the team at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)

TAMPA, Fla. - Mark Teixeira was among the handful of Yankees who stayed behind at Steinbrenner Field this weekend, but catching up after his lost 2013 season doesn't sound as if it will be a problem.

Teixeira went 1-for-2 with an RBI single and a run scored Friday in the Yankees' 7-3 loss to the Twins. More importantly, he says his surgically repaired right wrist, which is taped tightly after daily treatment, feels fine.

For all their free-agent additions, the Yankees need Teixeira to contribute again as a switch-hitting power threat. But he doesn't think the home run stroke is quite there.

"Not yet," he said. "But I'm trying to keep things very simple right now. As I get going, in more and more games, the power will eventually come. It doesn't really matter where they go. I'm just trying to make solid contact."

Nuñez nailed on slide

Eduardo Nuñez doesn't wear a bull's-eye on his pinstriped back; it only seems that way. The backup infielder got nicked again by a dangerous slide that cut his afternoon a little short.

Nuñez got kicked in the left thigh while completing an inning-ending force play at second base in the fifth and limped off the field. Backup manager Rob Thomson chose to remove him rather than let him play his scheduled six innings.

Afterward, Nuñez said he was fine -- but not so OK with the 6-4, 220-pound Chris Colabello's slide, which looked unnecessary, given the circumstances.

When asked if he thought the slide was dirty, Nuñez replied: "Yeah, but I don't think it was on purpose. Just hustling. I didn't expect him to hit me because there were two outs."

Down to two for one?

To David Phelps, it's apparently a two-man race for the No. 5 starter's job between himself and Michael Pineda. Phelps labored Friday against the Twins, needing 75 pitches for four innings, then failed to mention either Adam Warren or Vidal Nuño in the fight for a rotation spot.

As for competing with Pineda -- likely the favorite if healthy -- Phelps said he won't hope for a poor performance from his teammate, calling it "bad karma."

"I'm rooting for [Pineda] as much as I'm rooting for me right now," Phelps said. "Whatever they need me to do to help the team win, that's what I'll do."

Phelps struck out four but allowed five hits and two runs as his ERA inched up to 2.63 in four starts, a span of 13 2/3 innings.

Extra bases

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's been brainstorming about what to give Derek Jeter for a retirement present. He admitted it's going to be tough to top the rocking chair made of broken bats the Twins presented to Mariano Rivera last season.

Gardenhire reflected on the Yankees' captain "sending my butt home early" in the playoffs.

"Let's just call him 'early-exit man,' " Gardenhire said, laughing. "He's one of the most professional baseball players I've ever seen."

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