CLEVELAND -- Mark Teixeira is poised to take the next step in his rehab, the biggest one to date.
The first baseman is scheduled to meet with hand specialist Melvin Rosenwasser Friday and hopes to receive clearance to start swinging a bat. If that occurs, Teixeira expects a rapid program that could have him playing in an extended spring training game within two weeks.
"It's a week progression,'' Teixeira said before Thursday night's rainout, the second straight for the Yankees and Indians, which likely means a doubleheader here May 13. "It starts with a fungo [bat] and builds up to hitting soft-toss and then, at the end of the week, taking batting practice.''
If all goes well, Teixeira would accompany the team for its three-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., April 22-24, then stay behind when the team heads back to New York.
He then could begin playing in extended spring training games that he hopes would lead him back to the team the first or second week of May, the original timetable given March 6 when he was diagnosed with a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist.
"It feels really good,'' Teixeira said. "I really could not be happier with the progress.''
If there was one person not unhappy with the second straight rainout, it was Teixeira. It is, after all, another game that he won't have to miss.
But for the Yankees, who had 32 runs and 44 hits in their previous three games, it was unfortunate timing.
Rain cost Ivan Nova Wednesday night's start and the weather cost Phil Hughes Thursday night. Girardi said both will be put in the bullpen, adding to the unit's well-rested arms, during the next several days to keep CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte on regular rest. The plan, as of now, is to start Hughes on Tuesday and Nova on Wednesday.
Girardi didn't have an issue with how the Indians handled the rainout -- an approximate start time of 8:30 p.m. was given and there even was an introduction of lineups and ceremonial first pitch, all with rain falling and the tarp still on the field -- but said the schedule should be addressed.
"You should stay in your division [during the season's first month],'' Girardi said, noting that teams visit intradivision teams three times.
Doing so, he surmised, would decrease the likelihood of the scenario the Yankees now face -- a probable doubleheader May 13 because the Yankees are not scheduled to visit Cleveland again. May 13 is a mutual off day for the two teams.
Teixeira, meanwhile, talked like a player who believes he very well could be back by that date.
Teixeira said that given the injury he suffered, being able to take batting practice is a major plateau to reach, something that tells him he's taken a major step toward returning to action. But he'll also approach that step with caution, saying that one or two successful rounds of BP won't tell him he's in the clear.
"The plan is to take BP for a week because what if two or three days into it, the overuse makes it sore and then you have to back it up,'' Teixeira said. "But that is definitely a big goal, that you can take batting practice for an entire week and not feel anything.''
Bottom line: in order to return within the given timetable, Teixeira believes he's where he needs to be.
"You need to be at a certain level, and right now I'm at that level where it feels good,'' he said. "I'm confident the doctor will let me swing tomorrow and hopefully just every day it keeps getting better. Because that's what's been happening so far.''