ST. PETERSBURG -- Mark Teixeira was given a day off Tuesday, but no, it didn't have anything to do with his key error -- the Yankees first baseman's first of the season -- leading to Monday night's 4-3 loss to the Rays.
Tuesday's rest day had been planned for about a week, Teixeira said, and the fact that it happened when it did is just a coincidence.
"Maybe fortunate timing, just to let the boys pick me up today," Teixeira added. "Obviously, [Monday] was disappointing, but maybe a good day for a day off. ... We play plenty of games. That's the beauty of baseball."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he had talked to Teixeira about giving the first baseman the day off Sunday, but getting him off his feet -- especially on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field -- was "probably good for him." Teixeira agreed, admitting he's feeling the effects of a long first half and the nerve damage in his vocal cords.
"The first half of the season has been pretty tough; I just haven't really felt myself, obviously with just the physical things going on," Teixeira said. "The good thing is the All-Star break's coming up, and we have four days to kind of recharge the batteries. Hopefully, the second half of the season will be much better, health-wise."
Teixeira is still taking medication for the nerve damage, and that has helped him sleep more and worry less because he knows what's causing his coughing fits.
"This is a baseball season," Teixeira said. "I'm always fatigued during a season, but this first half has been more tough than usual. Like I said -- really looking forward to that All-Star break."
Feliciano's bullpen session impresses Girardi
ST. PETERSBURG -- On Monday, Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain vowed that he will absolutely pitch for the Yankees in 2012. On Tuesday, manager Joe Girardi said not to count out reliever Pedro Feliciano, either.
Feliciano, who has been rehabbing from left rotator cuff surgery in Tampa, Fla., threw a bullpen session at Tropicana Field on Tuesday afternoon, and Girardi was impressed with what he saw.
"His ball was moving all over the place," Girardi said. "It had good sink to it. He threw a few sliders. He threw some changeups that really dove. It was good to see. He's encouraged; I'm encouraged. ... It's something we have to be careful [with] and we can't rush, but he looks pretty good."
The 35-year-old left-hander has been throwing in the bullpen once every three days, and the plan is to have him throw once every two days going forward. Could that put him on track to join the Yankees' bullpen at some point this season?
"I do think it's possible if he doesn't have any setbacks, yes," Girardi said. "He has such a serious injury, we weren't sure what was going to happen. If we thought he was done, we wouldn't have brought him to Spring Training."
Feliciano hasn't pitched in the Majors since October 2010, when he was with the Mets. For his career, Feliciano is 22-19 with a 3.31 ERA and 341 strikeouts in 372 1/3 innings.
Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, on the 15-day disabled list with a mild left groin strain, threw on flat ground from 60 feet before Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field and said afterward he'll throw a bullpen session on Sunday. Girardi said Sabathia's progress is "encouraging."
Right-handed reliever David Aardsma, who was shut down after three rehab outings as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery he underwent last July, had tests on his right elbow, but the results had not yet come back as of Tuesday afternoon.
Left-handed starter Andy Pettitte, on the 60-day DL with a fractured left ankle, didn't make the trip with the Yankees. He is playing catch from a chair but not yet running, and he has a bone stimulator on his ankle.
On Tuesday, a night after David Robertson took the loss against the Rays, Girardi maintained confidence in his setup man and said he expects Robertson to get better as the season progresses. Girardi believes that most of Robertson's recent struggles are a product of him recently returning from a left oblique strain, and he said Robertson's previously dipping velocity has been more consistent lately.
The Yankees entered Tuesday having lost eight straight games to the Rays at Tropicana Field, but Girardi isn't getting caught up in the skid. He pointed out that the Yankees have held the lead in many of those losses, only to give it up, just as they did on Monday night.
"They're a good team," Girardi said of the Rays. "I think it's their pitching, and they stay close. You look at all their games, and that's how they are."