Mark Teixeira: 'I really am knocking off rust'

Mark Teixeira of the Yankees stretches out before

Mark Teixeira of the Yankees stretches out before the start of a spring training game against the Washington Nationals on March 3, 2014 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. (Credit: Getty Images / Brian Blanco)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - After playing in his first game since June 15 on Thursday, Mark Teixeira called it a "good first step." He took another significant one Saturday.

The switch-hitting first baseman went 1-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout, hitting a long double to left-center off Astros lefty Darin Downs.

"Even better than the other day, which is good," said Teixeira, who has been brought along slowly to protect his surgically repaired right wrist. "No complaints so far."

Among things left on Teixeira's checklist are swinging and missing, and checking his swing.

"I really am knocking off rust," Teixeira said. "Two days ago, it was just being out there, the rust of not being used to covering first base, going after foul balls, coming in on bunts. Just continuing to knock off rust, getting my legs in shape, get my swing in shape and trying to see a lot of pitches."

Teixeira said the wrist still feels good, but he won't push it.

"I don't want to try to overdo things in spring training and then physically not be ready for the season," he said. "I know if I do a little too much extra, I can feel it get tired and get a little sore . . . I'm up to 120 swings a day."

 

It's a challenge

In the fourth inning against Downs, Brett Gardner sent a long drive to right, where George Springer made an over-the-shoulder catch, then appeared to bobble and perhaps lose the ball on the transfer.

Joe Girardi walked to the middle of the field while the umpiring crew huddled. The delay gave the two Yankees staff members watching the game in the clubhouse a chance to relay, via walkie talkie to the dugout, that Springer had made the catch.

"I told the pitcher from Houston that he [Gardner] was out and that I'll be going back ," Girardi said.

Astros manager Bo Porter challenged a bang-bang play at first involving Jonathan Villar in the second. The out call by Jeff Nelson was upheld, with the review taking about one minute.

 

Nova finds it

Ivan Nova allowed two runs in the first inning and one in the second. But Girardi was pleased that the righthander, currently the No. 3 or 4 starter, settled in and did not allow a run in his final two frames. He allowed three runs and eight hits.

"He struggled in the first inning, finding some sink and finding his curveball," Girardi said. "I thought he did a good job of finding himself and giving us four innings."

 

No worries

Girardi said after Friday night's game that shortstop Brendan Ryan will be out at least until the "middle of next week" with soreness in his oblique and lower back. On Saturday, Girardi said he was not concerned.

"We think he'll be fine next week," he said. "MRIs came out good . . . We're probably being a little cautious because we can."

Positives for Jeter

After an 0-for-10 start, Derek Jeter collected hits in his next four, including Friday night against the Tigers when he went 2-for-2 with a walk.

"He's starting to swing the bat a little bit better," Girardi said. "He jokes about how you don't want to peak too early in spring training."

Jeter did not make the trip here Saturday but is expected to play Sunday against the Rays at Steinbrenner Field.

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