Teixeira: I'm getting in swing of things

NEW YORK -- It was just one swing, but it felt like so many before it.

When Mark Teixeira tied Sunday night's game in the seventh inning with a mammoth solo homer off Garrett Richards, his swing felt like it used to, before wrist surgery basically robbed him of his entire 2013 season.

"The biggest thing for me is that swing felt like before I got hurt," said Teixeira, who is batting .229 with two home runs and five RBIs in 11 games. "It has been a long time since I felt that. I want to keep doing it. It is consistency, continuing to get better. Hopefully, this is the first step to a lot of those."

It was Teixeira's first homer at Yankee Stadium since June 4, 2013. He only played in 15 games last season because of the wrist injury.

Has Teixeira finally moved past the injury for good?

"No," he said. "Hopefully, I will be soon. It is something I'll always have to keep an eye on."

It didn't help, Teixeira said, that he hurt his hamstring and went on the disabled list just three games into this season.

"Missing those two weeks was tough because I felt like I had to start over," he said. "But hopefully, we'll get into a nice groove here and the weather will warm up and I'll stay on the field and stay productive."

Solarte scratched: Yankees manager Joe Girardi scratched Yangervis Solarte a little more than an hour before first pitch with a shoulder injury.

"When he dove for the ball the other day, his shoulder was a little sore, maybe a little sorer than he let on," Girardi said. "I watched his [batting practice] today and he just didn't look quite the same swinging."

So Girardi took Solarte out of the lineup. "I told him, 'You get today off and you get Monday off and maybe it will be back to 100 percent,'" Girardi said.

A medical test -- Girardi didn't specify what kind, but it was probably an MRI -- came back negative, the manager said. The hope seems to be that Solarte will return to the lineup against Seattle on Tuesday.

It worked out for the Yankees, because Brian Roberts started for Solarte at second base. In the fifth inning, when the Yankees tied the game, it was Roberts' double that came in the middle of the sequence that led to the run.

Green light: Jacoby Ellsbury came around to score the winning run in the eighth inning on a walk, a passed ball and a wild pitch. But he still had opportunities to steal a base.

Did he have the green light to go? "I'm not going to always tell you what I'm going to do," Girardi said. "He was 52-for-56 last year."

We'll take that as a yes.

Ryan rehab: Brendan Ryan went 2-for-5 and played shortstop for nine innings during his first rehab game for Single-A Tampa. Girardi has said Ryan needs about 50 at-bats before he will be ready to join the big club. Ryan has not played yet this season because of a cervical spine injury.

Blocking machine: With Masahiro Tanaka on the mound, catcher Brian McCann has extra work to do, in order to keep the splitter in front of him when men are on base.

"I thought Brian did a great job of blocking balls tonight," Girardi said. "When [Tanaka] pitches, you are going to block balls. It is really important. He has worked really hard at it and it was big tonight."

Raving about Richards: The Yankees were very complimentary of Richards, the Angels starter. Teixeira said Richards reminded him of ex-Yankee Kevin Brown.