New York Yankees' Didi Gregorius, right, is greeted by Mark Teixeira (25) after scoring on an infield hit by Jacoby Ellsbury against the Toronto Blue Jays during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, May 24, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Ja
Julie Jacobson
May 25, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) Just as one aging slugger gets ready to return to the New York Yankees, they're concerned about the health of another.

Slumping first baseman Mark Teixeira missed Wednesday night's 8-4 loss to Toronto because his neck stiffened again. Dustin Ackley started in Teixeira's place and went 0 for 3 as the Blue Jays ended New York's six-game winning streak.

In other news, manager Joe Girardi said the team plans to activate Alex Rodriguez from the disabled list Thursday and ''there's a pretty good chance'' the designated hitter will be in the lineup.

The 40-year-old Rodriguez, on the DL since May 4 with a strained right hamstring, played his second rehab game for Double-A Trenton on Wednesday night and went 1 for 2 with a two-run homer to center field. He had two hits Tuesday and ''came through very well,'' Girardi said.

Teixeira's neck, however, is an issue again. Girardi said he's concerned about the 36-year-old switch-hitter, who missed two games May 10-11 because of a neck problem and was given shots in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort.

''I think it went away,'' Girardi said. ''But for whatever reason, it crept back in there today.''

Girardi said the three-time All-Star told the team Wednesday his neck ''kind of locked up.'' He had an MRI that looked similar to one from last year, according to the manager.

''I think he's going to get a couple more shots and we'll make an evaluation (Thursday),'' Girardi said. ''I feel OK about it. There's a chance we won't have him for a few days here. We'll have to see, obviously. I'll talk to the doctors more when I go in.''

How much time Teixeira misses will depend on how he responds to treatment, Girardi said before the game.

In the final season of a $180 million, eight-year contract, Teixeira is batting .195 with three homers, four doubles and 12 RBIs. He still provides quality defense at first base.

''His (pregame) work has been good, so it's just getting that to translate over to the field,'' Girardi said.

Girardi said he thinks it's possible Teixeira's neck problems have contributed to his struggles at the plate.

''I think it has some effect. I mean, if you can't move your neck the way you need to, it's kind of hard as a hitter,'' the manager said. ''It was feeling better, so it wasn't something that I expected today or got a heads-up last night. It just kind of reared its ugly head again, so I think it can have an effect.''

Teixeira has three homers in nine at-bats against Marco Estrada (2-2), who started for the Blue Jays on Wednesday night and pitched seven solid innings for the win.

Ivan Nova (3-2) was charged with four runs in 6 2/3 innings and took the loss.

In addition to Ackley, backup catcher Austin Romine could be a short-term candidate to fill in at first base because he's played about 25 games there in the minors, Girardi said.

If Teixeira is sidelined for an extended period, the Yankees could consider bringing up veteran Nick Swisher from Triple-A, where he's been playing mostly first base.

NOTES: Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, one of the team's top prospects, broke his right thumb Tuesday night at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will be placed on the minor league disabled list. X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture and he will be re-evaluated with repeat X-rays in two weeks, the team said. The 23-year-old Sanchez made his major league debut in 2015 and has played one game for the Yankees this year, going 0 for 4.

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