While we’ve seen turnarounds after slow starts from Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, we’ve yet to see the same from Mark Teixeira. While he doubled and hit a big two-run homer last night, his numbers are still middling, to be kind. Of the Yankee regulars only Russell Martin has a lower batting average. None has a lower OBP. This goes beyond the typical slow starts of Teixeira, which is certainly cause for concern.
There are few positives in Teixeira’s abnormally slow start to the season, but we can take solace in a few numbers. For starters, he’s not a true-talent .286 OBP or 83 OPS+, even if you believe that he’s in decline. His numbers have nowhere to go but up. He hasn’t been popping up balls with the propensity he has in the last two years; to date he has just three infield pop-ups. We can also look this his most recent four games: 6 for 16 with two doubles and a homer. He might already be in the midst of a turnaround.
Teixeira doesn’t need anyone making excuses for him. But at the same time it hasn’t been easy for him in the early goings. After last season he admitted to being a bit too pull happy, acknowledging that he needed to change his swing. Maybe he worked on that during the off-season into spring training. But all the cage work and BP in the world can’t replace the in-game work it takes to make such adjustments. At the same time, he’s been battling a nasty cold. Can you imagine having to cough while you’re waiting for a pitcher to deliver the ball?
It might take Teixeira some more time to get into the groove of things. But once he does, I expect big things. If his early season struggles truly are the results of a sick man trying to make adjustments to live pitching, then the best is yet to come. As we’ve seen in the past, that could provide an enormous improvement to the team’s offensive output.