7/24/2013 9:20 P.M. ET
Granderson readies for first Minors rehab game
By Bryan Hoch and Adam Berry / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Curtis Granderson packed his bats and his equipment into his rental car as he left the Yankees' Minor League complex early Wednesday afternoon. He's only heading across Dale Mabry Highway, but Thursday will be a big step forward for Granderson and infielder Jayson Nix.
Granderson and Nix will join Class A Advanced Tampa on Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field against the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Granderson said he's scheduled to start in left field and play five innings in his first Minor League rehab game. He will likely remain with the Tampa Yankees through the weekend before the team re-evaluates his progress.
"I think you have to give him some at-bats to see how he feels," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Granderson in Arlington. "He hasn't had a ton of at-bats. I think to be fair to him, you have to give him some at-bats."
Nix, out since July 1 with a strained right hamstring, began his rehab assignment Wednesday, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout while playing five innings for the Gulf Coast League Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.
"Things are getting good," Granderson said. "The main thing now [is taking more] at-bats. Game at-bats are obviously going to be a good thing, and we'll start that tomorrow."
The 32-year-old outfielder has played only eight games for the Yankees this season, dealing first with a fractured right wrist, then returning to the disabled list on May 25 with a fractured left pinky. After another long recovery process, Granderson said the rehab assignment came about quicker than expected. He's taken part in only three simulated games, so his timing at the plate isn't quite up to speed.
"Everything else is good," Granderson said. "Arm, legs, defensively -- all that good stuff. Now, it's just a matter of innings. Five innings, that's going to be a lot, because I haven't done that. We'll see how everything rebounds back, but [a return to the Majors] should be hopefully sooner than later.
"I'm excited to get a chance to go tomorrow. It kind of came up on me quickly over the past week. I knew we were starting the sim games and everything, then, next thing you know, I'm packing my bags up today."
Pettitte passes Koufax for latest milestone
ARLINGTON -- Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte tied and surpassed Sandy Koufax on baseball's all-time strikeouts list on Wednesday, tying former Yankees pitcher Kevin Brown for 39th place.
Pettitte equaled Koufax's lifetime mark of 2,396 strikeouts with a swinging punchout of the Rangers' Mitch Moreland in the second inning, then passed Koufax by freezing Geovany Soto looking.
Of course, Koufax compiled his lifetime total in a much shorter career than Pettitte's. It took Koufax just 2,324 1/3 innings to reach his mark, pitching for the Dodgers from 1955-66; Pettitte entered play on Wednesday with 3,235 1/3 career innings.
Once Pettitte moves past Brown, Dennis Eckersley holds 38th place on the all-time strikeouts list with 2,401.
Running bases may be Jeter's final step
ARLINGTON -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter took batting practice and ground balls again on Wednesday as he attempts to rejoin the team in time for Saturday's game against the Rays.
Jeter, 39, has run sprints the last two days but has not yet been cleared to run the bases. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Jeter would likely take that step on Friday, which calls into question if Jeter would be ready to play on Saturday.
"Nothing's out of the question, but I'm not so sure we'll see him Saturday," Girardi said. "You've got to be able to run at 100 percent and know there's no soreness, no pain, and that everything works proper."
Girardi was asked if Jeter, who is rehabbing a strained right quadriceps, might need to go back on a Minor League rehab assignment before returning.
"We haven't gotten that far yet," Girardi said.
Phelps slated for rehab start before returning
ARLINGTON -- Yankees right-hander David Phelps is expected to make at least one more Minor League rehabilitation start for the club.
Returning from a strained right forearm, Phelps threw 61 pitches for Double-A Trenton against Altoona on Tuesday, allowing two runs and two hits -- including a homer -- in 3 2/3 innings.
"He felt OK," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Phelps, who walked three and struck out six. "Probably not as sharp as we've seen him during the course of the season, but I kind of expect that when you haven't been on the mound and you haven't faced hitters in a while.
"I think we'll see him in New York and he'll throw a bullpen for us on Friday, and then he'll probably go out on another rehab start."
• It was curious when right-hander Michael Pineda was removed from his start on Tuesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after just 39 pitches, but general manager Brian Cashman said that the reason for Pineda's early hook was "innings management."
"I think they're trying to manage his innings because he's coming off that shoulder surgery," Girardi said. "They don't want him to go over a certain level -- that's why you're seeing him back off a little bit. That will increase as time goes on. They're scaling back just because they're worried about the amount of innings after sitting out a year."
• The Yankees' Aug. 18 game against the Red Sox has been picked up by ESPN and will be played at 8:05 p.m. ET.
• On this date in 1983, the infamous "Pine Tar Game" was played at Yankee Stadium. Kansas City's George Brett hit a two-out, ninth-inning homer off Goose Gossage to give the Royals an apparent 5-4 lead, but Brett was subsequently called out by umpire Tim McClelland after Yankees manager Billy Martin pointed out that Brett's bat exceeded the acceptable 18 inches of pine tar. The Yankees won, 4-3, but the victory was only temporary, as the American League upheld the Royals' protest. The game was resumed, including Brett's homer, on Aug. 18 and Kansas City completed the win.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.