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Teixeira closing in on return

The Sports Xchange
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--1B Mark Teixeira took six at-bats in a simulated game Friday in Tampa, his second straight day taking part in that drill. Teixeira, out since Sept. 8 with a strained left calf, is scheduled to play five innings in an instructional league game on Saturday. If he experiences no setbacks, he could return to the Yankees by Monday.

--C Russell Martin went 2-for-4 Friday, hitting a three-run home run that helped the Yankees open up a comfortable lead against the Blue Jays. Martin, who set a career high with 20 home runs, has hit six home runs and driven in 16 RBI this month, finally contributing offensively after five inconsistent months of production. "Just trying to make a bad season better," Martin said. "We're playing to win at this point, so anything I can do to help the team win, that's my main focus. This is the type of baseball that I enjoy. It's high intensity and this is why you play the game."

--RF/1B Nick Swisher had a two-run, two-out double in the first inning to give the Yankees an early lead, setting the tone on a night in which New York went 5-for-15 with runners in scoring position, driving in nine of its 11 runs with two outs. Swisher has driven in 71 of his 92 runs this season while batting left-handed.

--2B Robinson Cano was hit on the top of his left hand by a pitch in the sixth inning Friday. Cano remained in the game, taking two more at-bats, but he was sent for an X-ray late Friday night after a fluoroscope test proved to be inconclusive. "He was able to stay in the game, so I think he's OK," manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow."

--RHP Rafael Soriano recorded the final out Friday night, facing two batters with a seven-run lead in the Yankees' 11-4 win at Toronto. The closer hadn't pitched in a week, something manager Joe Girardi thought might be helpful after Soriano had complained of a "dead arm" feeling a week ago. "I think it's probably good," Girardi said.

BY THE NUMBERS
.647 -- LHP Andy Pettitte has a .647 career winning percentage against the Blue Jays, the third-best mark in history behind former teammates Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"We know we have to win, but we've been through that a lot this month. I think our guys have handled it well and they just focus on what they have to do. That's all you can really do, you've got to focus on what you can do." -- Manager Joe Girardi, after the Yankees maintained their one-game lead over the Orioles with a win Friday night.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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