Teixeira, Youkilis champing at bit to return
Following 1-for-3 night, duo set to join Yankees' lineup Friday vs. Red Sox
TRENTON, N.J. -- Yankees infielders Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis are eager to return to the Bronx and their positions at first base and third base, respectively.
Teixeira, who hasn't appeared with the Yankees since he injured a tendon in his right wrist preparing for the World Baseball Classic, and Youkilis, who has been on the disabled list since April 30 with a strained back, figure to be activated Friday for this weekend's series at home against the American League East-leading Red Sox.
The pair concluded their two-game rehabilitation assignments with the Double-A Trenton Thunder on Thursday night. Both went 1-for-3, with Youkilis driving home a Thunder run with a sixth-inning single. The two played seven innings in Trenton's 5-4, 12-inning win over the Erie SeaWolves.
"The results were pretty good [with my at-bats]," said Teixeira, who saw 20 pitches in his three trips to the plate, "but it's more just about the process, and feeling good, and making sure you can swing, play the field, run the bases and have no issues.
"Physically, I feel great."
For Youkilis, it was all about "the process" as well.
"A lot of this is timing," Youkilis said. "I was hitting the ball real well when I was down in Florida. Tonight, I had a couple at-bats where my timing was off. I changed that my last time up.
"It's baseball. There are some ups and downs in trying to come back, and sometimes you need some 'at-bat' at-bats to correct what you are doing wrong. I'll take that into Friday and keep grinding. We have 100 games left."
Both Teixeira and Youkilis mentioned most Major League players are rarely "100 percent" all of the time with the physical grind the season is.
"Maybe the kids we saw in extended spring," said Teixeira, "but not in the Major Leagues."
Youkilis has played through pain as well.
"I don't think I've been 100 percent since I signed with Boston," he said with a chuckle. "There are a lot of injuries we play through."
This was not possible with this pair this time.
"Our injuries we couldn't play through," said Teixeira. "It was tough for me personally. I enjoy my time in Tampa, but in February and March. You don't want to be there during the season, because it means you are hurt and not with the team. It will be good to get back home.
"I never want to miss a game. Kevin and I have both been grind-it-out players throughout our careers."
While both enjoyed their time with the Thunder, rehabilitation assignments are a challenge for Major Leaguers in their own way.
"Rehab assignments are tough, too," said Youkilis. "You want to get out there and play and feel healthy, but it's a different adrenaline level once you get to the Major Leagues. It's not to say you can't do the same things here and that you can do there.
"Once you get to the Major Leagues, you get used to these routines, and here it's a bit different. Got to get back up and back to our routines."
It also hasn't been easy for the pair to watch the Yankees' offensive swoon this past week, and they hope their return gives the team a needed boost in the midst of a five-game losing streak, four of which came to the Mets.
"I have a ton of confidence in our guys," said Teixeira. "We're going to turn it around. Every team has ups and down. Hopefully we'll go on a winning streak."
As far as the prospects the pair played with, a few impressed Teixeira and Youkilis.
"That ball Slade [Heathcott] hit for a home run [Wednesday} was impressive," said Teixeira. "That was an opposite-field line drive that easily could have gone 400 feet."
"I think all three outfielders are excellent players," said Youkilis. "They make up an outstanding Double-A outfield.
"The guy I was most impressed with was catcher J.R. Murphy. The way he hits and plays defense behind the dish, he'll go far."
Heathcott and Murphy are names for the organization's future. Teixeira and Youkilis are anxious to help the Yankees now.