ST LOUIS -- When Mark Teixeira felt stiffness in his surgically repaired right wrist last Wednesday at Wrigley Field, he shook it off and battled to remain in the lineup.
Five days later, when the stiffness hadn't subsided, Teixeira was a late scratch from the lineup in St. Louis, and the 34-year-old first baseman sat for a second day on Tuesday. Although the stiffness had improved, he said it hadn't reached a point where he was ready to return.
Nonetheless, he laughed and joked in the visitors' clubhouse at Busch Stadium. Worried? So far he's been given no reason to be.
"If the doctor says, 'Hey, Mark, fly back to New York, I need to see this,' then you get worried," said Teixeira, who has played in 35 of New York's first 50 games. "He told me, 'I'm surprised you haven't needed days off before. You've done really well.'
"I talked to my surgeon, [Dr. Keith Raskin], again today -- I'm talking to him about twice a day, actually -- he's 99 percent sure that this is an inflammation from overuse, which is completely expected."
After playing in only 15 games last season, Teixeira hit the disabled list and later underwent surgery to repair a partially torn tendon shear in the wrist. Stiffness was expected throughout the return process, but Teixeira, who has hit .248 with nine homers, hadn't felt it until last week.
Until he told manager Joe Girardi at breakfast on Monday in St. Louis that the wrist feels stiff, Teixeira hadn't given a thought to pulling himself off the field and out of the lineup, although he hasn't taken part in full batting practice in the past week.
"We don't really do that. We play until it hurts so bad that you can't play anymore," Teixeira said of a player's mentality. "[My surgeon] said, 'Next time it flares up, where you feel like if you keep pushing through it you need to take three days off or two days off, take one versus the two or three.' Maybe there might be a day here or there for the rest of the season that I'll need to take off."
With an off-day on Thursday, Girardi has pondered giving Teixeira Wednesday's series finale against the Cardinals off, too, regardless of any improvement that may come in the next 24 hours. In addition, Teixeira will have a precautionary meeting with Raskin on Thursday and will undergo an ultrasound to take a further look at the tendon.
When Teixeira does return to the lineup, his manager will watch him closely. Following Thursday's off-day, the Yankees will play on 43 of the 45 days leading up to the All-Star break.
"A lot of times, when they're going good, they don't want to come out, and then it leads to something where they start to feel something," Girardi said. "You do have to try to be proactive."
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.