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Teixeira, Youkilis could return to Yankees on Friday

Veteran infielders expected to complete rehab stint with Trenton on Thursday

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TRENTON, N.J. -- First baseman Mark Teixeira and third baseman Kevin Youkilis, provided all goes well in their second rehabilitation appearances with the Trenton Thunder on Thursday night, will return to the Yankees' lineup Friday vs. Boston.

"That's the plan," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman after the two played in the Double-A Thunder's 3-1 win over the Erie SeaWolves on Wednesday morning. "As long as they're healthy, they will be activated Friday."

"In Tex's case, he really needed a Spring Training because he didn't have one," said Cashman. "With Kevin, it was more like knocking the rust off. It'll be good to have them back healthy and at the big league level, where they belong."

Cashman complimented those who have filled in admirably for the injury-riddled Yanks, but he's looking forward to having some key regulars back in the lineup.

"We appreciate what the 'B' team has done," Cashman said. "Some players have really stepped up. But it will be good to have the 'A' team back. It takes more than 25 guys to be successful.

"Mark is our first baseman, and Kevin provides us a lot of flexibility at first, third and DH. We will have roster moves, but let's take the first step with these guys first."

Both Teixeira and Youkilis pronounced themselves ready to return.

"The wrist is feeling good, and has for weeks," said Teixeira, who injured a tendon in his right wrist while preparing for the World Baseball Classic. "The key for me is when I swing, [there is] no pain, and when I check my swing, [I feel] no pain. I probably have about 40 at-bats in extended spring camp. I'll get the other 10 or 20 I think I need in the big leagues."

Youkilis, on the disabled list since April 30 with what was termed a stiff lower back, stamped himself fit as well.

"I feel good," said Youkilis. "I've been moving around. I have a maintenance program that takes me 30 minutes a day. As long as I do what I am supposed to with the program -- the exercises -- I know it will help me."

Youkilis and Teixeira both went 0-for-2 with a walk in the game, with Youkilis scoring on No. 3 prospect Tyler Austin's fifth home run in the sixth inning.

The veterans may not have overpowered Erie pitching, but they did accomplish what was needed in the game. Fellow outfield prospect Slade Heathcott accounted for the Thunder's other run with a line-drive home run in the fourth.

"It was just nice to get into a baseball environment at this level," said Youkilis. "A lot of the guys down there [in extended spring] are just starting. It was good to face some guys with a little more polish, guys who can command pitches.

"It was also nice to get a chance to play in a real game. In Tampa, we would bat every inning, so we'd just grab our helmets and go back up to hit. At least we got to relax a bit today."

Teixeira explained the value of getting a handful of live at-bats in any rehabilitation assignment.

"What it does is get you back to recognizing pitches and feeling prepared at the plate," he said. "You want to see as many pitches as possible."

The Yankees' offense has hit a bump over the past several games, and the rehabbing duo and Cashman are naturally hoping the players' returns can give it a needed boost.

"We know Kevin and I can't do it all ourselves, but we know we have to score more runs," said Teixeira. "We've always been No. 1 or No. 2 in the league in that area, and that's not been the case."

Cashman agreed.

"It'll be good to put more of what is our complete team on the field," he said. "A lot has happened, and it's good to see some of our key guys coming back. We still have a lot of season to play."

Cashman also mentioned outfielder Curtis Granderson had a pin placed in his broken pinkie knuckle Wednesday morning to promote healing and will likely miss a month. Pitcher Michael Pineda had a slight setback due to a cut on a fingernail, but should start a 30-day rehabilitation schedule soon. Catcher Francisco Cervelli has not resumed baseball activities, and Eduardo Nunez's oblique is coming along slowly.

The good news for Cashman and the Yankees is, if all goes as expected Thursday evening, two key performers will be on the field at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

Jed Weisberger is a contributor to

New York Yankees, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis