TAMPA, Fla. -- Mark Teixeira's right elbow remained heavily wrapped while he waited for the swelling to go down, but the Yankees first baseman is expected to return to Grapefruit League action as early as Thursday.

Teixeira was drilled by a fastball from the Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie on Monday in Sarasota, Fla., and said that beneath the bandages that indentations of seams are still very visible. Teixeira said that he is continuing treatment, and he swung off a tee in the cages at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday.

"It's better. There's still some swelling in there, but it's not too bad," Teixeira said. "I'm getting my range of motion back, my strength back. I'm very happy."

Once Teixeira does return to action, he may try wearing a protective elbow guard for a few days at the recommendation of assistant athletic trainer Steve Donohue, though Teixeira has never liked the feeling of having something extra inhibiting his motion.

Teixeira said that he considered himself fortunate not to be discussing a more serious injury after Guthrie's pitch got away.

"Anytime you get hit on a bone, a lot of bad things can happen, so I feel very blessed to only be out a couple of days," Teixeira said.

Aceves eyeing Friday return to action

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees right-hander Alfredo Aceves threw 20 pitches from a mound on Wednesday, eyeing a Friday return to action after back stiffness forced him to miss an appearance this week.

Aceves was scheduled to pitch an inning on Tuesday, but he has been limited by a similar issue to the one that kept him out of action last August with New York, as well as earlier this spring. Aceves said that he has been stretching and spending time in the steam room and hot tub to loosen his back.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that if Aceves can throw one more inning in Grapefruit League play, he will be able to come north with the team for Opening Day, and noted that he is "on target" for that. If not, Aceves would be considered a candidate to begin the season on the 15-day disabled list.

A-Rod gets right back at it

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez hobbled a little bit down to first base as he grounded out in the second inning on Wednesday, but he more than made up for it the next time up.

The Yankees slugger was moving gingerly after he fouled a ball off his left foot while facing the Twins' Brian Duensing, but A-Rod strapped a shin guard on before coming up in the fourth inning. A-Rod belted a solo home run over the right-field wall, his second of the spring.

"I told him, 'Don't forget to put your shin guard on,'" manager Joe Girardi said. "He hits better with it."

Cervelli has MRI, set to play Saturday

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli had an MRI performed on Wednesday to check on his left hamstring, which he felt pinch him during Tuesday's home game against the Blue Jays.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Cervelli remains scheduled to play Saturday, when the club wraps up its spring slate with a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Yankees' future stars. The 24-year-old took batting practice on Wednesday and will perform catching drills on Thursday.

"Our concern is running the bases," Girardi said. "He said he felt it yesterday and we took him out. His strength is great. There's no swelling or anything, but we said, 'Let's be safe rather than sorry.'"

Non-roster backstop Mike Rivera also has experienced a right hamstring issue in camp. Girardi spotted both of them receiving treatment and joked that together the Yankees could have one healthy catcher.