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05/18/12 6:37 PM ET

Teixeira sits out opener with lingering cough

NEW YORK -- The hacking cough that Mark Teixeira believes he picked up during the club's first homestand still hasn't subsided, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi hopes a day off will help the first baseman's troubles.

Teixeira was benched for Friday's series opener against the Reds, and Girardi said he wasn't sure if he would play the switch-hitter on Saturday either. Nick Swisher moved to first base on New York's lineup card, with Raul Ibanez slotting into right field.

"He's been going hard for us. He has had the issue, and we've talked about some days off on the road trip," Girardi said. "I'm going to see how he feels tomorrow. He doesn't sound real good again today."

Teixeira was 0-for-4 in Thursday's loss to the Blue Jays, coming up with runners in scoring position in each of his first three at-bats, and has five hits overall in his last 18 at-bats.

The Yankees were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Thursday, but Teixeira's struggles seem to be looming larger than most. He is just 9-for-44 (.205) this year with RISP.

"It seems like there's been so much focus on Tex and what he has done with runners in scoring position," Girardi said. "There's about five or six other guys, and if all of the other guys were doing what they were supposed to be doing, we wouldn't be focused on Tex."

Girardi said that it is "a little bit" concerning that Teixeira's illness has not cleared up. He saw a specialist during the Yankees' most recent homestand and was encouraged by the visit, but has said that while the coughing fits haven't become worse, they also do not seem to be getting better.

"The bottom line is, we're trying to get him healthy," Girardi said. "We've sent him to a number of different doctors. He's been on a number of different medications. This is a job that you can't very often call in sick. You have to be really sick not to play in our job. We get four months off at the end; that's when you get well."

Yankees plan on Nova making Saturday start

NEW YORK -- The Yankees are optimistic that Ivan Nova will be able to make his start as scheduled on Saturday.

The right-hander suffered a sprained right ankle and a contusion in his last start on May 14 at Baltimore, turning his ankle as he came off the mound to field a Wilson Betemit tapper in the seventh inning.

Nova has been moving around better and was able to throw a bullpen on Thursday in Toronto, and manager Joe Girardi said that "as of right now," the plan is that Nova will face the Reds on Saturday.

"The only thing that could change is if, when he warmed up tomorrow, if he felt it and it was bothersome to him," Girardi said.

If Nova is not available for the start, Girardi said that he would consider giving the spot start to right-hander Freddy Garcia, noting that Garcia seems to have pitched better since he was bounced from the rotation into a long relief role.

Girardi reflects on fond memories of Wood

NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi caught Kerry Wood when he was at his electric starting best, but the Yankees manager was just as pleased to have the right-hander's services coming out of his bullpen.

Wood announced his retirement on Friday after making one final appearance for the Cubs at Wrigley Field, striking out the only batter he faced in a 3-2 loss to the White Sox.

 "I was a teammate of his; I loved playing with him," Girardi said. "He loved to play the game, he really did. I managed him [in 2010], and he did a tremendous job for us, he really did. He gave our bullpen a huge boost when he got here and pitched extremely well for us."

Wood will be remembered as a Cub, but his brief stay in New York was effective. He was acquired on July 31, 2010, from the Indians for two Minor Leaguers and was 2-0 with an 0.69 ERA in 24 appearances for the Yankees, also making seven appearances in the postseason.

The Yankees were interested in keeping Wood after the 2010 season, but he accepted a discounted contract offer to return to the Cubs.

"He's been a great player for a long time, and I'm sure it's a difficult day for him," Girardi said. "But he came up a Cub, and I'm sure if he was going to retire, that's where he'd want to do it."

Bombers bits

• On Sunday, the Yankees will host all of their full-season ticket licensees on the field to run the bases at Yankee Stadium following the 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Cincinnati Reds.

 • Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is celebrating his 66th birthday on Friday. Born on this day in 1946, "Mr. October" played five seasons with the Yankees (1977-81), batting .281 with 144 home runs and 461 RBIs in 653 games while winning the 1977 and 1978 World Series.

• On this date in 1956, Mickey Mantle homered from both sides of the plate for the third time in his career in an 8-7, 10-inning victory over the White Sox at Comiskey Park.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.