NYY@TB: Granderson exits after being hit by pitch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez isn't expected to begin the next phase of his rehabilitation at the Yankees' Minor League complex until Wednesday, but there was still plenty of activity on Monday on Himes Avenue.

While Rodriguez's return to the Yankees lineup has been delayed by a Grade 1 strain of his left quadriceps, outfielder Curtis Granderson took a significant step in his recovery by playing in a simulated game.

Granderson, out since May 24 with a fractured left pinkie finger, made three plate appearances and ran the bases. He drew two walks and put the ball in play once, hitting a weak grounder to second base. The 32-year-old outfielder also fielded fly balls in the outfield before the sim game.

"I'm at the Spring Training point again, in terms of the schedule to hit," said Granderson, who has played in only eight games for the Yankees this season. "This is like the first couple of days before the first Spring Training game. I need some swings right now. That's the main thing I'm missing."

Granderson was pleased with how he felt physically and said he is scheduled to take part in two more sim games -- Tuesday and Wednesday -- before the Yankees re-evaluate how close he is to starting a Minor League rehab assignment. He isn't sure, however, exactly when he'll be back in the Bronx.

"Sooner than later," Granderson said. "I got a lot of friends and family asking the same question. We're getting there, which is always a good thing."

Infielder Jayson Nix took six simulated at-bats along with Granderson, recording two singles and two strikeouts, but he did not run the bases to test his strained right hamstring.

Catcher Francisco Cervelli, meanwhile, went through defensive drills on the back fields. Cervelli has been sidelined since April 26, when he sustained a right hand fracture on a foul tip. The 27-year-old backstop has not taken batting practice since a setback in his recovery, a stress reaction in his right elbow, but he said that is "coming soon."

Targeting Saturday, Jeter fields grounders

NYY@BOS: Jeter talks about his stint on the 15-day DL

ARLINGTON -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter took batting practice and fielded ground balls hit directly at him on Monday at Rangers Ballpark, making progress as he hopes to return to the active roster this weekend.

Jeter is eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday against the Rays at Yankee Stadium and has said that he no longer feels discomfort in his right quadriceps after suffering a Grade 1 strain in his only big league game of the year.

"I'm going day to day," Jeter said. "Like I've said, I want to play as soon as possible. I want to play on Saturday."

Jeter also hit in the indoor batting cages at Rangers Ballpark. The Yankees did not take on-field batting practice because of the afternoon temperatures in Texas, which were in the mid-90s.

"Jete started riding the [stationary] bike, then moved up and progressed a little bit," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You go day by day."

Gardner details momentum behind epic walk

NYY@BOS: Gardner draws walk after 15-pitch battle

ARLINGTON -- Brett Gardner guessed that he spent about "2 1/2, three minutes" standing at Fenway Park's home plate on Sunday evening, waging an epic 15-pitch battle against the Red Sox's Junichi Tazawa.

Informed that the plate appearance actually spanned nine minutes before Gardner took the 15th pitch outside for a walk, the Yankees outfielder grinned at the evidence of a job well done.

"It's probably one of the longest, if not the longest, in my career," Gardner said. "I've had a couple of other ones that were pretty close to that. I didn't realize it was 15 pitches; I thought it was more like 12. I was just locked in and trying to put a ball in play, and only swing at strikes."

The plate appearance did not result in a run for the Yankees, as Ichiro Suzuki grounded back to the pitcher's mound for the final out, but it did succeed in tiring out Tazawa. Gardner said that when an at-bat generally gets that deep, the hitter takes the lead.

"I think once an at-bat gets to seven or eight pitches, I think the hitter has the advantage," Gardner said. "You've shown me all of your stuff. We've seen nine pitches and you haven't gotten me out yet. I've always heard people say that in a 3-2 count, the pitcher has the advantage, but I feel like in a 3-2 count, the hitter has the advantage.

"I've never really minded hitting deep in the counts. I feel like when you see that many pitches, you've got a good idea how the ball is coming out of his hand, timing him up. If you've seen that many pitches, you're close to squaring something up."

Bombers bits

• Yankees catcher Austin Romine has been unavailable due to a stiff neck. Girardi said that he planned to have Romine catch on Sunday at Fenway Park, but he was unable to. Girardi hopes to be able to play Romine behind the plate on Tuesday.

• The Yankees did not homer in their three-game series at Boston this past weekend, marking their first homerless series of at least three games at Fenway Park since Aug. 14-16, 1995.

• On this date in 1944, left-hander Sparky Lyle was born. Lyle made 420 relief appearances for the Yankees from 1972-78, winning the '77 Cy Young Award.