Teixeira set for return; corresponding move TBD

Sabathia on track for next start despite ankle injury

Teixeira set for return; corresponding move TBD

NEW YORK -- It's decision time for Yankees manager Joe Girardi. After spending three weeks on the disabled list with a cartilage tear in his right knee, first baseman Mark Teixeira is scheduled to return to the Yankees' lineup Saturday. 

For Girardi, the roster move will likely come down to whether he wants to keep journeyman Ike Davis, a veteran first baseman who has logged more than 600 games at the position, or Rob Refsnyder, a rookie who has played first base for less than a month.

Despite Teixeira's well-documented struggles this season -- the veteran slugger is hitting just .180 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 48 games this season -- a roster spot that currently belongs to an active Yankee will be his on Saturday.

"Well, it's something that, obviously, we'll talk about today and tonight," Girardi said Friday. "We'll do our best. The big thing is we keep healthy."

If Girardi were to make his decision based purely on offensive output, it would point strongly toward Refsnyder, who entered Friday's action hitting .400 since June 11 and has been bumped up to the No. 2 hole with a left-handed pitcher on the mound. Davis, meanwhile, is just 2-for-14 this season and has not had an at-bat since Sunday.

But Girardi will have to take defense into account as well, and Refsnyder is still learning the position. According to data collected by Fangraphs, Refsnyder has completed 100 percent of the "routine" defensive plays -- or plays that are made by at least 90 percent of defenders -- but has yet to convert on a play any more difficult than that. Despite this, Refsnyder has actually posted better defensive numbers by Range Factor and Ultimate Zone Rating at first base than at his more natural positions such as second base and right field.

By Refsnyder's summation, he's learned a lot, but he has a lot to learn.

"I didn't really know what my expectations were going to be because of learning a new position at the highest level," he said. "I let [general manager Brian Cashman] and Joe kind of decide that. But it's nice having them play me and have confidence in me, it seems like."

Sabathia on track for next start

CC Sabathia, who left his Wednesday start early with a right ankle injury, played catch comfortably Friday and said he does not expect to miss his next scheduled start Tuesday.

Sabathia said he expects to throw with his ankle taped up, however, and added that his ankle feels best now when it's wrapped. Girardi confirmed this based on what he's heard from trainer Steve Donohue, adding that Donohue told him there is no swelling in the ankle.

Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.