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09/06/12 6:45 PM ET

Teixeira tests strained calf, may return Friday

BALTIMORE -- Mark Teixeira tested his strained left calf in the outfield before Thursday's game against the Orioles, and the Yankees first baseman is hoping to be back in the lineup by the weekend.

Teixeira said he didn't feel 100 percent, but after running 10 to 12 sprints close to full speed, he had some optimism that he might be able to return as early as Friday.

"We're always going to try to come back as quickly as we can, so we'll have that conversation," Teixeira said. "I would have loved to have been back today, but it wouldn't have been ready today."

Teixeira has not played in the last eight games, and manager Joe Girardi said that they must be cautious not to rush Teixeira back for fear of losing him the rest of the way.

"I think it's a matter of making what's the best decision for him and us, moving forward," Girardi said. "If a guy's not ready, you put him out there and get him injured again, he's done for the year probably. That's the balancing act we have to do."

Teixeira said that the tight American League East race is pushing him to get back sooner than he might have if the Yankees still had a large cushion.

"Obviously if we're up 10 games, I'm probably going to take that extra day or two," Teixeira said. "When we're fighting right now for the lead, I'm going to try to come back as quickly as possible. This is the way it is. I want to be out there really badly right now."

Nova close to coming off DL, rejoining rotation

BALTIMORE -- Ivan Nova completed what manager Joe Girardi called a "good, hard bullpen" session on Thursday, and the Yankees are considering their next course of action for the right-hander.

Girardi said that the Yankees wouldn't announce anything until Friday at the earliest, but they believe Nova is ready to come off the disabled list and that he could rejoin the starting rotation.

"We're considering him a rotation guy," Girardi said. "We don't consider him a bullpen guy. I want to see how he feels [Friday] before we decide what's next for him."

Nova has been on the disabled list since Aug. 23 with inflammation in his right rotator cuff, but since he has been out a relatively short time, the Yankees don't believe his stamina has been affected.

"I don't really have a concern that he could give you 80, 90 pitches," Girardi said. "We don't have that concern because he hasn't been off that long. I don't think 80, 90 pitches would be out of the question for him."

Martin pushes average over Mendoza line

BALTIMORE -- Russell Martin woke up on Thursday morning with a batting average over .200 for the first time since June 22, and it has been a long climb back over the Mendoza line for the Yankees catcher.

"Now's the time," Martin said. "Nobody really cares what my batting average is at this point. Every game's a playoff game, and that's how we're going to go about it."

Martin has nine hits in his last 30 at-bats entering Thursday, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi believes he is finally seeing some results after hitting into an extraordinary batch of bad luck.

"Russell has hit a lot better than the numbers show," Girardi said. "We keep reminding him of that, and he knows. I see the frustration sometimes when he lines out; he's like, 'C'mon, another one?' But we have a lot of confidence when he's up there."

After one day, Robertson back to high-socks look

BALTIMORE -- David Robertson is somewhat flattered that so many people pay attention to the status of his socks, as it seems to create a minor stir every time he wears them differently.

Robertson pitched in Wednesday's Yankees 6-4 win over the Rays with his pants legs low, shunning his usual high-socks look. Robertson said the change had nothing to do with the club's recent struggles.

"I'm not really a superstitious guy," Robertson said. "It's just that I was joking around with Stew [catcher Chris Stewart], and I asked if I should wear them down. He said, 'Absolutely,' so I did."

Robertson and his wife, Erin, embraced the look by naming their charity High Socks for Hope. Robertson said no name change is in the works; he planned to return to his usual style on Thursday.

Bombers bits

• With three hits on Wednesday at Tropicana Field, Derek Jeter eclipsed Honus Wagner's record of 181 hits in a season for a 38-year-old shortstop, set in 1912.

• Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano returned to defensive duty on Thursday after serving as the designated hitter for two days with a sore left hip. Manager Joe Girardi said Cano came into the clubhouse and said he felt ready.

• Left-hander Andy Pettitte is scheduled to throw a simulated game this weekend.

• On this date in 1926, Babe Ruth hit three homers in a doubleheader at Fenway Park as the Yankees swept the twin bill from the Red Sox, 14-2 and 5-2.

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.