NEW YORK -- Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said Wednesday that he's now hoping to return by May 1 from a right wrist injury he sustained preparing to play for Team USA in the days before the opening of the World Baseball Classic.
"That's my goal, to play for the Yankees, I hope, by May 1," Teixeira told MLB.com before New York hosted the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in the second game of the season for both teams. "I hope. That would be great."
Teixeira sustained what was ultimately diagnosed as a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist hitting with a weighted bat off a tee before Team USA played an exhibition game against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch on March 5.
The Yankees originally said the switch-hitter would be out from eight to 10 weeks and a May 1 return would fit optimistically early in that time frame. A Yankees spokesman reiterated that time frame on Wednesday.
Teixeira said Wednesday that he hoped to start swinging the bat again by the middle of the month and go to the Minor Leagues on a rehab assignment about a week prior to his return to the Yankees lineup.
Teixeira is currently working on exercises to strengthen his wrist. Asked when he might be able to start swinging again, he said it depended on how he felt.
"The doctor will look at me in about 10 days. And if there's no pain going through normal every day movements then I could start swinging the bat."
Teixeira added that reports of possible season-ending surgery were a bit premature. But progressive improvement is now feeding his personal optimism.
"If it never gets better then I would have to have surgery," he said. "That's only if it never gets better. But it's progressively gotten better, at this point. Absolutely it has. I can tell if it hurts doing anything. There are lots of tests that the doctors can do. And if any of those tests hurt then I can't swing a bat yet."
Near the end of this past season, Teixeira missed 30 of 31 games, including 20 in a row from Aug. 28 to Sept. 30 with a strained left calf. Even so, he hit .251 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs in 124 games. During nine postseason games against the Orioles and Tigers, he batted .281 (9-for-32) with only one extra base hit (a double) and one RBI.
An earlier than expected return date would be welcome news for the Yankees, who came into the season with Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson on the disabled list with a variety of injuries. Jeter is still recovering from the left ankle he fractured during last year's American League Championship Series, and Granderson should be only weeks away of returning from a right forearm that was fractured by a pitch early in Spring Training.
Without Teixeira, Team USA was eliminated by Puerto Rico in the second round of the Classic. He was replaced at first base by Kansas City's Eric Hosmer, who batted .200 in the six games and grounded out with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of the elimination game against Puerto Rico with the tying and go ahead runs on base.
Teixeira said he paid little attention to the Classic after sustaining the injury, but he'd be willing to try it again in 2017.
"The injury was very unfortunate," Teixeira said. "But there's nothing I can do about it. Is it something I'd do again? Yeah. I'm not sure I'll have the chance. I did it in 2006. I did have the opportunity. So it's not like it's a completely lost experience, but I would definitely love to do it again."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less