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09/24/12 11:45 PM ET

Tender ankle not slowing Jeter's production

MINNEAPOLIS -- In the Yankees' series-opening 6-3 win over the Twins on Monday night, Derek Jeter started his fourth game at shortstop since suffering a bone bruise in his left ankle, and he extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a ninth-inning single.

Manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees continue to monitor Jeter's status, with Girardi sprinkling in plenty of half-days during which Jeter serves as the designated hitter. That has allowed Jeter to miss only one game since injuring the ankle on Sept. 12 against the Red Sox.

Jeter's ankle continues to improve, Girardi said.

"I think it's a little better," Girardi said. "My fear is kind of -- it's just that one step that sends him right back to where he was. But I have not seen a limp from him the last few days, so that makes me feel better."

The injury certainly hasn't seemed to manifest itself in Jeter's performance. Prior to Monday, in nine games since Sept. 12, Jeter hit .293 with five RBIs.

Still, Jeter is learning how to ease off the accelerator at times -- specifically on some defensive plays.

"I think he's learning," Girardi said. "I think it's hard for him. ... I think he's doing a pretty good job of it."

Grandy fifth Yankee with repeat 40-homer years

MINNEAPOLIS -- Curtis Granderson etched himself into Yankees lore during Monday night's 6-3 win over the Twins at Target Field.

Granderson connected for a moonshot of a home run into the upper deck in right-center field during the fourth inning against the the Twins' Liam Hendriks. Estimated at 437 feet, it was Granderson's 40th home run of the year, making him only the fifth player in Yankees history to record 40 in back-to-back seasons.

Granderson joins Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Jason Giambi as the only other Yankees to accomplish the feat.

"Pretty neat," Granderson said. "They mentioned earlier that there's a couple guys that played for the Yankees and fall under the category, and now I'm one of them. It's neat to get mentioned with those guys -- I didn't know that.

"Especially with the number of guys that have played for the Yankees and put the pinstripes on -- at least for one sentence, I get to get mentioned with those guys. That's pretty cool."

It was the 207th home run of Granderson's career.

Return near, Aardsma eager to help Yankees

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-handed reliever David Aardsma is closing in on his return to Major League action.

Aardsma, with the Yankees on Monday for their series opener against the Twins, is expected to be activated from the disabled list prior to Tuesday's contest.

The 30-year-old Aardsma hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2010 as a member of the Seattle Mariners. He underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in July 2011 and was signed to a one-year, $500,000 contract by the Yankees in February.

New York also owns a club option for 2013.

"When I first got hurt in 2010, it was devastating," Aardsma said. "I didn't know how to take it. It was the first time I'd really been hurt. Trying to come back, I was having little setbacks, other injuries happen.

"It's an amazing feeling to be back in here and knowing that very soon I'll be back on a mound again."

Aardsma recorded 31 saves for the Mariners in 2010, a year after he notched 38 while posting a 2.52 ERA. He owns a 4.20 career ERA in six seasons spent with the Giants, Cubs, White Sox, Red Sox and Mariners.

Aardsma appeared in rehab games in the Rookie League as well as for Class A Advanced Tampa and short-season Class A Staten Island, going 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA over 6 2/3 innings (five games).

"I haven't faced a big league hitter in two years," Aardsma said. "But It's a matter of, I know my stuff's been good [in rehab games]. It's obviously not the same caliber. Now it's a matter of just coming out there and getting comfortable and facing hitters.

"Am I expecting to go out there and be put in the toughest situation ever? I don't think they would do that, but if they do, I'll be ready."

Tex increases baseball activity; Yanks cautious

MINNEAPOLIS -- Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira spent Monday in Tampa, Fla., increasing his baseball activity workload as he attempts to return from a Grade 1 left calf strain.

Teixeira sustained the injury while running the bases in an Aug. 27 game against Toronto. He returned for a Sept. 8 game against the Orioles but suffered a setback.

"He did a bunch of work in Tampa today, which is a good sign," manager Joe Girardi said. "He ran the bases -- not at full speed. He did ground balls, and his BP and came out pretty good."

General manager Brian Cashman previously set New York's game at Toronto on Thursday as a target for Teixeira's return, but Girardi stopped short of confirming that on Monday. The manager also acknowledged that the artificial surface at Rogers Centre could delay Teixeira's return.

"I don't know," Girardi said. "The concern is that you rush him and he has that one play and you know he's probably done for the season."

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.