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Mark Teixeira would have preferred faster rehab, but he's healthy now

Mark Teixeira scores a fourth-inning run against the

Mark Teixeira scores a fourth-inning run against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. (Aug. 27, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

TAMPA, Fla. -- Mark Teixeira says the Yankees' conservative approach with his rehab hasn't always been easy to take.

"It's not my choice,'' the first baseman said Thursday after a workout at the team's minor- league complex. "If it was my choice, I would have been back earlier. But it's all about the team. It's what's best for the team.''

And now Teixeira -- rehabbing a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist -- is about to take the next significant step in what at times has been an arduous process.

General manager Brian Cashman said late Thursday afternoon that Teixeira could play for Double-A Trenton on Tuesday, weather permitting, in his first rehab game, a benchmark in the countdown to his activation.

Teixeira is eligible to come off the 60-day DL next Friday.

"Everything's as good as it can be right now,'' Cashman said by phone.

Teixeira, who started hitting in simulated games earlier in the week, dialed it back a bit Thursday, doing tee-and-toss indoors before taking batting practice on the field alongside Kevin Youkilis, who has been nursing a back injury and could be back by late next week.

Teixeira has said for several weeks that he hasn't felt pain in the wrist, but he said there were some nerves "the first couple swings'' he took in his first simulated game.

"But once I got those first few out of the way, it's been great,'' the switch hitter said. "Seeing the ball really well, hitting the ball really well. As always, righthanded's a little bit ahead of lefthanded. But I feel great right now. Like I said, I'm very happy with where I am.''

Although his rehab has not been paced as quickly as he'd like, he understands the caution.

"I've always been a guy that's going to play through injuries, going to play through pain, whatever it may be,'' he said. "This was a situation where the team did not allow me to do that, which is fine. We weren't going to push through pain in this situation because it was kind of a tricky injury. And that's why we've kind of taken a conservative approach.''

The solid play of Teixeira's replacement, Lyle Overbay, and other surprise contributors such as Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells have allowed the Yankees to avoid feeling desperate to rush him.

"If the team said, 'Mark, we need you back on May 2,' I'd figure out a way to get back on May 2,'' Teixeira said. "But because of how well we've played, that wasn't needed. I give my teammates credit because they've allowed me to get healthy and get myself ready for the rest of the season.''

Notes & quotes: Cashman said trainer Steve Donohue told him Hiroki Kuroda was "fine'' a day after being hit by a comebacker and having to leave his start against the Orioles because of a bruised right calf . . . Michael Pineda (shoulder) averaged 93 mph with his fastball during a five-inning extended spring training game in Dunedin, Fla., and likely will have one more of those before being sent on a rehab assignment . . . Cashman said to expect Ivan Nova (right triceps inflammation) to be activated "soon,'' likely meaning sometime next week . . . Alex Rodriguez (hip) took grounders and hit indoors but did not stop to talk to reporters on his way out of the complex.

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