TRENTON – During a rehab assignment, the numbers do not truly matter to players such as Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira. Instead, as Thunder manager Tony Franklin put it, rehabbing players simply need to “get the adrenaline going” against live competition as they work their way back from injury. Such was the case on Wednesday morning, when both New York Yankees players joined the Trenton Thunder as they work their way back from injuries suffered earlier in the season.
For each of them, Wednesday’s game was focused on getting back into the swing of game action as each player targets Friday for a return to the Major Leagues. Both Teixeira and Youkilis played seven innings while batting third and fourth in the Thunder lineup. Youkilis and Teixeira each had three plate appearances during the game, recording identical batting lines on the day as each went 0-for-2 with a walk.
Afterwards, Youkilis and Teixeira both took time to meet with the media and discuss their health and their outing. Joining them was Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who confirmed that provided both players come out of Thursday’s game healthy, the plan is for them to rejoin the New York Yankees on Friday.
“It feels great,” said Teixeira when asked about his wrist. “It’s been feeling great for weeks, and I’m just excited about playing again.”
Teixeira noted that the most important thing to be taken from this rehab assignment was health and a return to facing more advanced live pitching. He also indicated that he was focused on ensuring that there was no pain with his swing, which was especially important as he attempts to return from a torn tendon sheath in his hand.
“It’s all about health, seeing pitches, trying to see as many pitches as you can in your at-bats,” Teixeira commented during today’s press conference.
For Youkilis, this was not his first time playing at what was formerly known as Waterfront Park. Youkilis saw time with the Thunder back in 2002, when the team served as the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
“You never always want to come back to the minor leagues,” Youkilis said when asked about making a return to Trenton. “But if you’re going to come back, it’s always cool to come back to the places you played when you were younger…it brings back a lot of good memories.”
Youkilis indicated to reporters that as long as he keeps doing the exercise program that has been prescribed, he does not foresee his back becoming an issue again this season.
With Youkilis and Teixeira ready to return, Brian Cashman will have some roster decisions to make, a point that he danced around during today’s press conference. For any fans holding out hope that Lyle Overbay will remain an everyday player when Teixeira returns, Cashman made it extremely clear that Teixeira is his first baseman.
The return of Youkilis and Teixeira should provide a big boost to a Yankee offense that has hit a slump in their first two games against the New York Mets. With a pair of all-stars back in the lineup, Robinson Cano should also find some true protection behind him for the first time since Youkilis hit the disabled list in late April.
Dan is usedview.com’s beat writer for the New York Yankees and the Trenton Thunder. Follow him on Twitter at @danpfeiffer74 for all the latest New York Yankees news.