El Duque to return Wednesday
Hernandez, who hasn't appeared in a spring training game since March 9 because of a sore right elbow and forearm, threw 45 pitches off a bullpen mound during a 12-minute workout Monday.
"I feel good. Yes, I feel better," Hernandez said through an interpreter.
Yankees manager Joe Torre has put off a decision on whether Hernandez would start the season on the disabled list.
New York is showing confidence in his health by pitching El Duque on Wednesday. If he then goes on the DL, he would not be able to pitch in a game until April 13 at the earliest.
Hernandez, likely to pitch two or three innings against Cincinnati on Wednesday, still doesn't feel 100 percent. Torre wants to see him pitch in against major league hitters rather than in a minor league exhibition game.
"He's still not confident if he tears it loose that he's not going to feel something," Torre said Sunday.
Yankees pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre was pleased with the workout, which was mostly fastballs and changeups rather than breaking pitches, which are more stressful on the elbow.
"He was free and easy," Stottlemyre said. "He didn't seem to be apprehensive at all today. His follow-through was very good. The ball had life on it."
Roger Clemens is scheduled to pitch next Monday's season opener against Kansas City, followed by Andy Pettitte on Wednesday. Mike Mussina is likely to follow in the series finale, meaning the earliest Hernandez would pitch is Friday's series opener against Toronto.
After Hernandez's workout, Derek Jeter took batting practice for the second straight day. Jeter, who hasn't played since March 16 because of a strained right quadriceps, probably will try to run Tuesday. If he doesn't feel any pain, he probably will play in a minor league exhibition game later in the day.
"I don't feel it hitting. I don't feel it walking around," he said.
Torre said it's possible Jeter could start the season on the disabled list because the Yankees want him to heal completely rather than have a nagging injury during the season.
"He hasn't told me, so I don't have the slightest idea," Jeter said.
If Jeter plays in a minor league exhibition, he probably would bat leadoff every inning, so he could double his plate appearances. Because of right shoulder soreness followed by a viral throat infection followed by the quadriceps injury, he's played in just five spring training games, going 3-for-15.