NEW YORK -- Workout day at Yankee Stadium began earlier for Mark Teixeira than most on Friday, when he played in a simulated game with Brett Gardner and Jayson Nix, facing pitches from Adam Warren and David Aardsma before a team workout began later at night.

Teixeira got three regular-season games under his belt after missing a month with a Grade 1 left calf strain, but he still does not have his timing at the plate -- prompting concern entering a month in which he historically struggles as much as he does in April.

Wild Card vs. Yankees

"I've always been knocked for having slow Aprils, and there's a reason," Teixeira said. "It does take a while to get your timing back as a switch-hitting power hitter. Once I do, I do feel pretty good. I'm just hoping to get hot. You want to be hot going into the playoffs."

Teixeira went just 1-for-12 in his three games back. His only hit was a two-run homer Monday against Alfredo Aceves, who threw Teixeira seven consecutive changeups before one landed in the second deck in right field.

"Why Aceves threw me seven straight? I don't know," Teixeira said. "I think that was probably a gift for me there."

Gifts will be hard to come by for the remainder of October, a month in which Teixeira is a career .207 hitter in the playoffs. He has as many strikeouts, 31, as postseason games, driving in 13 runs, scoring 19 and hitting only three home runs in that time.

Teixeira does not run from the reality, calling his previous October performances "personally not good," but the reason he took extra swings Friday was not his history, but his more recent results.

Manager Joe Girardi believes New York's three days off between games will benefit Teixeira's calf, which he is still careful with, but pushed while attempting to beat out some double plays in his three games back. Teixeira says he continues to feel better every day, but points to his lack of rhythm at the plate as a reason to regret the extra days off -- missing 30 games from late August until October did not do him any favors.

"That's why I'm out there getting extra at-bats in a simulated game," Teixeira said. "I'm one of the streakiest hitters in baseball and I'm hoping to get on a hot streak. Not being able to get your timing down is tough, and that's what I'm trying to do now."

Pettitte tries to use lengthy layoff to his advantage

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte threw a pitch at Yankee Stadium during last October's postseason, but that was only ceremonial before Game 2 of the American League Division Series. Now out of retirement, Pettitte is back in New York's starting rotation with an opportunity to improve upon his all-time best postseason wins total.

"My wife told me the other day, 'I didn't like that very much.' She didn't like me throwing out the first pitch," Pettitte said. "She thought I needed to be out there."

Pettitte will be out there, although neither he nor manager Joe Girardi would say whether the lefty will start Game 2 or 3 of the ALDS against the winner of Friday's one-game Wild Card matchup between Baltimore and Texas.

He threw a bullpen session Friday during a team workout in the Bronx, and plans to throw another small one before his first postseason start. He was prepared to start Thursday, if the Yankees had to play the Orioles in a one-game playoff had they finished the regular season tied atop the AL East.

But the Yankees won and have a lengthy layoff between games, allowing Pettitte an opportunity to do more leg work in the weight room than he typically would between starts as he attempts to regain the strength and stamina lost during a three-month absence with a fractured left ankle.

He went 2-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his three starts back from the disabled list, but finished six innings only once as he worked his way from 75 to 88 to 94 pitches. He is unsure how many pitches he could throw in a postseason start, but it will certainly be more than the one he tossed last year.

"I can tell you, I feel like I have been getting a little tired when Joe has taken me out of the game. Earlier in the year, when I threw 115 pitches or so in a game, I'm not sure if I could do that," Pettitte said. "Hopefully my legs feel good under me and stay strong. I don't know how they'll respond, but I'm feeling really good."

A-Rod focused as 'real season starts now'

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez grades his season as "incomplete," left to wonder what might have been if a Felix Hernandez fastball hadn't shattered his left hand with a pitch back on July 24 at Safeco Field.

Then again, if Rodriguez is able to slip his second World Series ring on at the end of this month, he won't be spending much of his offseason fretting about the past.

"When I got hit, it was a freaky injury," Rodriguez said. "I thought I was swinging the bat extremely well in Seattle, and the team was playing extraordinarily well. Freaky things happen.


"The bottom line is whether you hit 50 home runs or five home runs, it's all water under the bridge right now. Our real season starts now, and I have an opportunity to help the team win and be a big part of it."

It promises to be an interesting postseason for Rodriguez -- aren't they all? -- as he has yielded standing as the most dangerous hitter in the Yankees' lineup to Robinson Cano, who figures to be the name opposing managers will swear not to let beat them.

"It's fun to watch," Rodriguez said. "Robbie, the last 11 or 12 days, has been world class. I've never seen him play at a higher level. He's just a phenomenal talent. He's kind of maturing right in front of our eyes, going from being a star player to a rock star, superstar kind of player."

Rodriguez has been there before, but glimpses of his three-time American League MVP have been harder to come by. He finished the year hitting .272 with 18 homers and 57 RBIs in 122 games; he and the Yankees would happily flush those numbers in favor of a monster postseason.

"Once you get one [World Series ring], obviously No. 2 is the only goal and objective," Rodriguez said. "Especially at this point in my career, you get judged by winning games; that's the only column that really works around here. By being part of a championship team, you can get a pass for not reaching personal goals, which I don't believe in those."