ST LOUIS -- When Mark Teixeira felt stiffness in his surgically repaired right wrist last Wednesday at Wrigley Field, he shook it off and battled to remain in the lineup.
Five days later, when the stiffness hadn't subsided, Teixeira was a late scratch from the lineup in St. Louis, and the 34-year-old first baseman sat for a second day on Tuesday. Although the stiffness had improved, he said it hadn't reached a point where he was ready to return.
Nonetheless, he laughed and joked in the visitors' clubhouse at Busch Stadium. Worried? So far he's been given no reason to be.
"If the doctor says, 'Hey, Mark, fly back to New York, I need to see this,' then you get worried," said Teixeira, who has played in 35 of New York's first 50 games. "He told me, 'I'm surprised you haven't needed days off before. You've done really well.'
"I talked to my surgeon, [Dr. Keith Raskin], again today -- I'm talking to him about twice a day, actually -- he's 99 percent sure that this is an inflammation from overuse, which is completely expected."
After playing in only 15 games last season, Teixeira hit the disabled list and later underwent surgery to repair a partially torn tendon shear in the wrist. Stiffness was expected throughout the return process, but Teixeira, who has hit .248 with nine homers, hadn't felt it until last week.
Until he told manager Joe Girardi at breakfast on Monday in St. Louis that the wrist feels stiff, Teixeira hadn't given a thought to pulling himself off the field and out of the lineup, although he hasn't taken part in full batting practice in the past week.
"We don't really do that. We play until it hurts so bad that you can't play anymore," Teixeira said of a player's mentality. "[My surgeon] said, 'Next time it flares up, where you feel like if you keep pushing through it you need to take three days off or two days off, take one versus the two or three.' Maybe there might be a day here or there for the rest of the season that I'll need to take off."
With an off-day on Thursday, Girardi has pondered giving Teixeira Wednesday's series finale against the Cardinals off, too, regardless of any improvement that may come in the next 24 hours. In addition, Teixeira will have a precautionary meeting with Raskin on Thursday and will undergo an ultrasound to take a further look at the tendon.
When Teixeira does return to the lineup, his manager will watch him closely. Following Thursday's off-day, the Yankees will play on 43 of the 45 days leading up to the All-Star break.
"A lot of times, when they're going good, they don't want to come out, and then it leads to something where they start to feel something," Girardi said. "You do have to try to be proactive."
Key steps forward for Beltran, Pineda
ST LOUIS -- Carlos Beltran and Michael Pineda both took key steps toward returning to the Yankees on Tuesday.
Beltran, who hasn't played since May 12 because of a bone spur in his right elbow, took 15 swings from each side of the plate at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, this time with a bat. The 37-year-old veteran had taken 15 swings from each side with a fungo bat on Monday.
Beltran will take Wednesday off before taking swings off a tee and from toss on Thursday as he works to avoid surgery, which would put him on the shelf for approximately eight to 12 weeks.
Meanwhile, right-hander Pineda took a step toward rejoining New York's rotation. Pineda hasn't pitched in the Majors since April 23, first serving a 10-day suspension, then straining a muscle in his upper back while throwing a simulation game in Tampa, Fla., to stay sharp.
On Tuesday he threw 28 pitches in two innings in an extended spring game at the club's complex in Tampa. He'll pitch in a simulated game there on Sunday, throwing between 50 and 60 pitches, according to manager Joe Girardi.
There was no timetable set from there, but Pineda will likely continue to be extended and need a rehab start before returning to the Majors.
Admiration mutual between Girardi, Matheny
ST LOUIS -- Back in 2003, Joe Girardi and Mike Matheny shared a clubhouse in St. Louis.
The two former catchers found themselves back together here this week at the helm of each clubhouse, with Girardi managing the Yankees and Matheny leading the Cardinals.
There has been little surprise from either in regard to where the other has ended up.
"I'm not shocked that he's a manager," Girardi said. "A very bright man, a great catcher, he was a leader. I really enjoyed playing [with him], even though I didn't really play much -- I was hurt most of the year, but it was great being around him. I've always appreciated his work, whether it was as a player or manager."
"I thought he would [manage]," Matheny said. "Always admired how he went about his business as a player and a teammate. He's a sharp guy, and he knows the game very well."
The Cardinals finished third in the National League Central during the one season Matheny and Girardi were together. Girardi appeared in only 16 games while battling injuries during his final season in the Majors, with Matheny assuming the full-time catching duties, appearing in 141 games.
It has been Girardi who has provided guidance for Matheny in the latter's initial seasons leading St. Louis. Girardi began managing in 2006, with the Marlins, and has spent the past seven seasons with the Yankees, winning a World Series title in 2009.
Matheny, meanwhile, in his first two seasons with the Cardinals, has twice made the playoffs and won the NL pennant last season.
"I have a lot of respect for him, as well, and how he goes about his business," Matheny said of Girardi. "I'm grateful for the help he's been to me, also, as I've taken on this position."
• The strikeouts continue to come for reliever Dellin Betances, who fanned two in two scoreless innings on Monday. Betances leads all relievers in K's this season, with 51.
• Shawn Kelley threw long toss on Monday, a day after he threw from 75 feet with no issues. He has been on the 15-day DL with a stiff lower back and hasn't pitched since May 6. Girardi said that Kelley will likely throw long toss again on Wednesday.
• The Yankees' bullpen tossed seven innings in Monday's 12-inning win against the Cardinals. Girardi said that his bullpen has held up fine even with three extra-inning games in the past seven.
"They've done a really good job," Girardi said. "We've done a good job of giving them days when they need days."
Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.