TORONTO -- Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira took seven at-bats in a simulated game on Thursday in Tampa, Fla., as he attempts to return from a strained left calf.
Manager Joe Girardi said that Teixeira also played an inning in the field and reported that he felt good afterward. Teixeira suffered the strain in late August and re-aggravated it on Sept. 8 in Baltimore while trying to beat out a game-ending double-play ball.
"To me, the biggest test is running the bases," Girardi said. "That's the biggest test for me, because I think he can protect it a little bit in the field if he has to. But sometimes you get into a situation like he was in Baltimore and your mind tells you, 'I've got to go.'"
Girardi said that he hopes Teixeira will be at 100 percent when he rejoins the Yankees, but it can be difficult to simulate the most demanding circumstances.
"You'd like to know that he's 100 percent when you put him back out there, but I don't really know until you can get into an intense situation," Girardi said.
A-Rod cleared to DH, nearing return to field
TORONTO -- Alex Rodriguez's sore left foot limited him to designated-hitter duty on Thursday night as the Yankees opened a four-game series at Rogers Centre, but he is expected to soon return to playing the field.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi suggested that Rodriguez could get back to playing third base as soon as Friday, though the Yankees want to be cautious about pushing the injury too much on the dome's artificial turf.
"We'll see," Rodriguez said after going 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch in the Yankees' 6-0 loss to the Blue Jays. "We'll see how this thing wakes up and talk to Joe tomorrow."
Rodriguez bruised the top of his foot on a foul tip in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Twins and said that it stiffened up after the game. He is 1-for-16 with six strikeouts in his last four games, and Girardi said that the Yankees need his performance to improve.
"We do need to get him going," Girardi said. "When he's rolling, our lineup can be really potent."
Rodriguez said that his recent skid has not increased any feelings of anxiety as the Yankees attack their last six games of the regular season.
"Our objective is, we don't care who does it, we just want to win games," Rodriguez said. "Swing at strikes, and if they don't pitch to us, pass the baton to the next guy. We have to trust our nine-man lineup; it's not tennis or golf. Our job here is to take what they give us, take small bites, and take it from there."
Yankees considering Gardner for playoff roster
TORONTO -- Brett Gardner took two rounds of batting practice on Thursday at Rogers Centre, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the team could consider carrying him on its postseason roster.
Even if Gardner is not ready to hit big league pitching by the time the Yankees expect to be in playoff games, Girardi believes that he could be useful in a limited pinch-running and defensive-replacement role.
"We've done that before, where we've just taken a baserunner," Girardi said. "We did it against the Angels in 2009."
Girardi was referring to speedster Freddy Guzman, who replaced veteran Eric Hinske on the American League Championship Series roster and pinch-ran in Games 2 and 5, striking out in his only at-bat.
Gardner went on the disabled list on April 18 with an injured right elbow that eventually required surgery, and he was activated from the 60-day DL on Tuesday.
The Yankees have a rotation crunch for the playoffs with CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes in line, which could peg Ivan Nova for a bullpen role.
"I haven't even thought about that," Girardi said. "I'm so focused on winning this division, I haven't really thought about a playoff roster. I think it's too early to do that. I want everyone pitching well, and then we'll make our decisions."
The Yankees plan to use Derek Jeter as a designated hitter in at least one of the games on the Rogers Centre artificial turf this week.
On this date in 1923, the Yankees set a franchise record with 30 hits in a 24-4 thumping of the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The club mark for a nine-inning game still stands today.