ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Mark Teixeira, himself working his way back from an injury suffered early in spring training, couldn't believe the horrible luck that befell Curtis Granderson Friday night.
"It's cruel,'' Teixeira said. "I had tears in my eyes saying goodbye to Curtis yesterday because it's like . . . it's just, you can't say anything. It's so tough. When you've played as long as Curtis has, and you have to take two months off, and then the excitement of getting back, on a first-place team, playing in front of the big crowds again, to have it taken away after eight games is, like I said, it's cruel.''
Teixeira, rehabbing the right wrist tendon sheath he partially tore March 5, spoke late Saturday morning at the club's minor-league complex after playing in his first extended spring training game. He took all his swings from the right side and went 1-for-4 with a double and sacrifice fly.
The first baseman, who is eligible to come off the 60-day DL Thursday, is scheduled to play rehab games with Double-A Trenton Wednesday and Thursday. He could be activated as soon as Friday, though the team might give him a day off before doing so.
Teixeira was inside Tropicana Field Friday night and saw Granderson -- who suffered a broken right forearm Feb. 24 when he was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat of spring training -- get hit by a pitch in the fifth and depart with a broken metacarpal in his left pinkie.
Granderson, placed on the 15-day DL Saturday -- outfielder Brennan Boesch was called up from Triple-A -- lasted all of 7½ games in his return.
"There's certain things you can control in baseball, there's certain things you can't, and half the injuries out there, you can't control,'' said Teixeira, who should know; his injury occurred while he was taking swings in a batting cage before the World Baseball Classic. "You slide funny, you run into a wall, you get hit by a pitch, those things . . . you can't really control those things. So we try to take care of our bodies as well as we can, and every now and then, you're going to have freak injuries. Curtis, unfortunately, has had two the first three months of the season.''
In the close quarters of the minor- league complex -- think of your average high school field, with four adjoining fields -- Teixeira nearly suffered a freak injury when he almost had his head taken off by a check-swing screamer while swinging in the on-deck circle.
Exactly three people sat in the rickety wooden bleachers . . . and they weren't even watching the field that Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, rehabbing a back injury, played on.
Joba Chamberlain (oblique) also played Saturday morning at the complex, allowing a run and three hits in two innings.
He took a comebacker off his right calf in his first inning but waved away trainers as they came out to check on him. Chamberlain's second inning was much smoother, a 1-2-3 frame, and Joe Girardi said the righthander should be activated in a matter of days.
Youkilis, who, like Teixeira, played in the field -- though for three innings to Teixeira's five -- went 2-for-3 with two doubles. He did not stop to speak with reporters after playing.
"It's nice,'' Teixeira said of getting into a game after playing simulated games the past week. "Obviously, playing in front of 50,000 at Yankee Stadium's a little more exciting, but this is still . . . this is a step. You have to take these steps to get back from an injury.''
And although simulated games hold advantages over extended spring games -- the switch hitter batted only righthanded because the Pirates' extended spring squad brought only lefthanders -- it was a return to some sense of normalcy.
"Feels better, just getting into a game, because you have more of a rhythm,'' he said. "Even though hitting every inning isn't normal, it's still more of a rhythm than what I've been doing, so it feels good . . . I've been wanting to play for a while. I haven't had any apprehensions about playing for quite some time.''