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NYY@TOR: Nova fans 10 over 7 1/3 brilliant frames

While trying to inch closer to a division crown, the Yankees could get healthier when they take their 1 1/2-game lead in the American League East across the border for a four-game set with the Blue Jays on Thursday.

Third baseman Alex Rodriguez missed Wednesday's 8-2 win over the Twins after a foul tip in Tuesday's tilt bruised his left foot.

"It stiffened up a little bit after the game," Rodriguez said Wednesday. "It's pretty sore."

Yankees skipper Joe Girardi surmised that Rodriguez would have to spend a day or two as the Bombers' designated hitter before returning to the hot corner.

"I worry a little bit more about the turf than I do the dirt," Girardi said of Rogers Centre. "Any turf is always a concern, especially if you have a bone bruise."

First baseman Mark Teixeira amped up his baseball workload in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday and could return during the series. Girardi said the turf won't deter the club from bringing back Teixeira, who is recovering from a left calf strain.

"I'm not erasing any ideas," Girardi said. "If [the medical staff] feels he's healthy, we'll bring him back."

The Blue Jays will continue to have a hand in the race for the AL East title, having already split a four-game set with the second-place Orioles this week.

On Thursday, Toronto will trot out Brandon Morrow, who has been perhaps the club's best starter this season.

Yankees: Nova gets the ball for New York
• Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.94 ERA) will oppose Toronto for the second time this season on Thursday. The right-hander submitted one of his best outings of the season at Rogers Centre last month, when he limited the Blue Jays to two runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings while tallying 10 strikeouts. In six career appearances against Toronto, Nova is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA.

• Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is batting .487 (19-for-39) over his last nine contests.

Blue Jays: Santos on schedule
Toronto expects to have reliever Sergio Santos ready when Spring Training opens in February. Santos pitched in just six games this season before being shelved with a right shoulder injury.

Santos, who recorded two saves and pitched just five innings in his first season in Toronto, is scheduled to begin a throwing program in early December. He is currently in California going through rehab workouts three times a week.

Worth noting
• The Yankees have won nine of 14 meetings with the Blue Jays this season.

• After his eight-inning gem against the Twins on Wednesday, Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia has now pitched at least six innings in all but one of his 27 starts this season.

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