ST. PETERSBURG -- First baseman Mark Teixeira played three innings in a Minor League game on Thursday at the team's complex in Tampa, Fla., and is expected to return to the big league lineup on Sunday against the Rays.
"He had a really good day," manager Joe Girardi said. "He played three innings today, got three at-bats, went first to third and felt really good. He's expected to play five [innings] tomorrow."
Teixeira had not played since April 4, when he strained his right hamstring reaching for a ground ball against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
"Everything is pointing to him playing for us [on Sunday]," Girardi said. "It's something that we have to talk about, but everything points to him being here."
Sizemore's first time at first base an eventful one
ST. PETERSBURG -- Veteran infielder Scott Sizemore had been told to "be ready for anything," and so that was the mantra he followed while preparing to play his first career game at first base on Thursday.
He certainly wasn't counting on completing a triple play in his second inning of action.
Sizemore dug out a throw from second baseman Brian Roberts to finish a 5-4-3 triple play in New York's 10-2 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field, scooping the ball just before Sean Rodriguez reached first base.
"I saw it developing, and I just said, 'I've got to catch this one at all costs,' so I managed to dig it out of the dirt and finish it off," Sizemore said.
Roberts was confident that Sizemore would be able to field the ball.
"I watched him during BP, and I said, 'He looks like he's been over there plenty of times,'" Roberts said. "I was watching him take ground balls. As an infielder, that's probably not the first short hop he's ever had in his life. And it's a bigger glove, so why not? He made it look easy."
Sizemore had been working with the pitching staff at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on fielding and bunt plays, and also picked up pointers from RailRiders teammate Russ Canzler.
"Not too bad. I think my footwork around the base was a little awkward at times, but I think I did all right," said Sizemore, who'd borrowed a glove from Kelly Johnson for the game. "It's just something I've got to keep working on."
D-Rob on track for Tuesday return from DL
ST. PETERSBURG -- Closer David Robertson threw a bullpen session on Thursday at Tropicana Field and remains on track to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, the first day that he would be eligible.
Robertson said that he has felt a great deal of improvement in his strained left groin and could have resumed pitching a few days ago. He has been scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday.
"I'll definitely try to focus more on stretching it a little better before games; kind of do my prep work a little better instead of just walking out to the bullpen," Robertson said.
Robertson is happy to see the bullpen succeeding in his absence. Shawn Kelley has taken over as interim closer, and both David Phelps and Adam Warren have picked up their first career saves since Robertson was injured.
"I didn't think every game would end up in a save situation, but they've nailed it down and looked really good doing it," Robertson said. "We've got a lot of experience here. These guys are doing a great job."
• Infielder Brendan Ryan, who has not played in a game since March 4 because of an oblique injury and then a cervical spine nerve injury, is getting closer to returning to action. He is scheduled to play in a Minor League game on Saturday in Tampa and could be ready to rejoin the Yankees sometime in May.
• Warren is being used as a one-inning reliever and has enjoyed success in that role. Girardi feels that Warren is "ready to make that step," adding that he is more comfortable using Warren on back-to-back days than he was in 2013.
• Girardi needs to keep an eye on shortstop Derek Jeter, who returned to the lineup on Wednesday and went 1-for-5 after resting a tight right quadriceps.
"I'm going to pay attention to it," Girardi said. "This is back-to-back days. I am going to pay attention to it, but I felt good about how he came through yesterday."
• On this date in 1951, Mickey Mantle made his Major League debut in a 5-0 win over the Red Sox. He was introduced by public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who was working his first game for the Yankees.