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09/20/12 6:38 PM ET

Tex swings in cage, heads to Florida on Monday

First baseman to play in instructional games; no timetable for return

NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira took swings in the indoor batting cage at Yankee Stadium before Thursday's series finale against the Blue Jays and plans to travel to Tampa, Fla., on Monday to increase his workload with baseball activities in instructional league games.

General manager Brian Cashman previously mentioned Sept. 27 in Toronto as a potential return date for Teixeira from his Grade 1 left calf strain, but Teixeira said there is no specific timetable after an earlier attempt to rush back caused him to miss the past 10 games, including Thursday's.

"I don't want to put any timetable on it, because we tried to do that last time and it put unwanted pressure on everybody," Teixeira said. "We all wanted me to be back as soon as possible and I wasn't, I wasn't ready. I'm going to take it day by day, and when the doctors tell me I'm clear, when the trainers tell me I'm clear, when the strength coach and baseball people all tell me that I'm normal and running fine, then I'll be out there playing."

Teixeira is mostly just receiving treatment at this point, with some workouts in a pool, he said.

The Yankees are not being overly careful with their first baseman, according to manager Joe Girardi, simply attempting to ensure he does not suffer another setback that might keep him out of potential playoff action.

"It's something we have to heal. I don't think it's a matter of taking our time," Girardi said. "It's something that we have to make sure is healed, because we don't want it to happen again."

Swelling, tightness and soreness are immediately evident just touching his left calf, Teixeira said, although he has not suffered any setbacks since he last appeared Sept. 8 against the Orioles. That was his only game back after he missed 10 games upon suffering the injury running the bases Aug. 27 against Toronto.

He is traveling to the Yankees' facility in Tampa to simulate game action, although he would like to appear in a few games in New York before the playoffs begin, assuming the Yankees qualify.

"Just being in game situations where I leg out a double, I dive in the hole on a ground ball and run to first base -- those are things I need to do in a game situation," Teixeira said. "We can't try that out in a playoff game and have me blow out right away. That wouldn't be good for anybody."

With Andruw scuffling, Ichiro faces another lefty

NEW YORK -- Ichiro Suzuki found his name back in the lineup on Thursday against a left-handed pitcher, and the Yankees outfielder could continue to see increased duty in that role down the stretch.

Manager Joe Girardi has seemed reluctant to use Ichiro against left-handed pitching, but Girardi said that he may consider using the 38-year-old in that role more coming off his terrific 7-for-8 doubleheader against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.

"It's possible," Girardi said. "I could give him a day off against a lefty [the A's Travis Blackley] coming up here [on Saturday]. He played a doubleheader [Wednesday]. I checked to make sure he was OK; he said he feels good. We'll take it day by day."

Ichiro drove in the game-winning run in the nightcap of Wednesday's doubleheader with an RBI single off Toronto lefty Aaron Loup.

Girardi has tried to get Andruw Jones going against lefties, but Jones has had major problems in the second half, batting just .137 (14-for-102) with two homers and 10 RBIs, and owns one hit in his last 15 at-bats.

"He's just struggled," Girardi said. "He had that great [five-homer] month in July for us, and the second half has been a struggle for him for whatever reason. It hasn't been just one pitch that's gotten him out. He's scuffled, and you look at what Ich is doing, and we're going with the hot hand."

Day after return to mound, Pettitte feeling good

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte reported no physical issues on Thursday, one day after the Yankees' veteran left-hander returned with five scoreless innings against the Blue Jays.

"I feel good; just good soreness in all the right spots," Pettitte said. "I was able to do my work and will probably try to run a little bit [Friday]. I did my work on the bike today, so it's good. It feels good."

Pettitte said that his return to big league duty after an 84-day layoff with a fractured left ankle presented no major issues, though he felt his legs fatigue quicker than expected.

He scattered four hits in a 75-pitch outing, his first start since June 27. Pettitte is slated to pitch on Monday against the Twins at Target Field.

"I would love to say I hope I can get to 85 or 90 [pitches]," Pettitte said. "I think that's a possibility, but we've got to see how the game goes."

Bombers bits

• The Yankees have not yet activated outfielder Brett Gardner, but they expect to do so in the near future. Coming off arthroscopic right elbow surgery performed in July, Gardner is likely to fill a pinch-running role for the Yankees in the season's final two weeks, with some defensive duty also possible.

 • As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, acclaimed salsa singer Frankie Negron was tabbed to perform the national anthem before Friday's game. 

 • On this date in 2010, the Yankees dedicated a monument to principal owner George M. Steinbrenner in the center-field Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.

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.