Archive for Mark Teixeira
During a conference call this afternoon, Brian Cashman provided a bunch of updates on the various injured Yankees. Here’s a recap:
- Derek Jeter (ankle) took his hacks in batting practice and also off a tee and soft toss. The Cap’n fielded ground balls with a little side-to-side movement for the first time (ever! zing!) as part of his rehab as well.
- Alex Rodriguez (hip) will face live pitchers on Tuesday for the first time as part of his rehab. Going from simulated games to minor league rehab games to the big leagues is probably a four-week process for a guy who didn’t have a Spring Training, so yeah, All-Star break if everything goes well.
- Mark Teixeira (wrist) will not be available for at least seven days, and Cashman said he is “leaning personally” towards placing him on the DL. Let’s hope they do that, playing short-handed and potentially bringing him back too soon would suck.
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) will make his next minor league rehab start with High-A Tampa on Thursday. He’s scheduled to throw 80 pitches. Cashman said Pineda has been sitting 92 and touching 94-95 during his rehab so far.
- Curtis Granderson (hand) will have the pin removed on Thursday. No word on how long it will be before he can resume baseball activities, but getting the pin taken out is a start.
- Frankie Cervelli (hand) is still a week or so away from swinging a bat. He has been playing catch and working on receiving drills behind the plate.
- Eduardo Nunez (ribcage) took some ground balls and did some light hitting off a tee and soft toss. It’s possible he could return before the All-Star break, but Cashman didn’t seem confident.
An MRI showed inflammation and no new tear in Mark Teixeira‘s right wrist, Joe Girardi announced. The first baseman received a cortisone shot and will be re-evaluated in a few days. He will avoid the DL for the time being. Teixeira is not close to being out of the woods yet, but that’s a surprisingly positive diagnosis.
9:26pm: Teixeira has an “aggravated right wrist,” the Yankees announced. He will return to New York to get checked out by the team doctor tomorrow. Probably not a good sign that they aren’t even waiting until the off-day on Monday.
8:32pm: Mark Teixeira left tonight’s game with an apparent right wrist problem after the third inning. Joe Girardi said he “just doesn’t feel like he has the snap in his swing” during the FOX interview while also indicating the first baseman will get the next few days off. Teixeira missed close to three months with a tendon sheath injury earlier this year, and the Yankees indicated there was only a 70% chance he would not require season-ending surgery.
The Yankees made a huge splash in the free-agent market back in 2009, landing CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher (via a trade), and A.J. Burnett. Each player contributed in a huge way and helped the team bring the 27th World Series Championship back to New York. Teixeira, specifically, had a monster year in 2009 as he batted .292/.383/.565 (.402 wOBA, 142 wRC+) with 39 home runs. FanGraphs valued him at 4.9 WAR (trailing only Miguel Cabrera and Kevin Youkilis among AL first baseman).
Since then, Yankee fans have watched Teixeira steadily decline. Over the past few seasons he’s become increasingly one-dimensional offensively even though his defense has remained very reliable. He’s been far more prone to hitting the ball down the first base line (presumably aiming for that enticing short porch), which in turn, has made him increasingly more susceptible to the defensive shift. Consequently, his batting average has ticked downward by about 40 points from where he has historically hovered prior to coming to New York. Discouragingly, we’ve also seen Tex struggle against right handers the past few seasons as well (last season he batted .239 as LH batter verse righties, .224 in 2011, .244 in 2010, and .282 in 2009), and then show an unwillingness to adapt his approach.
Fortunately for the Yankees, they haven’t exactly been hurting for offense for the last decade or so. During Tex’s tenure in pinstripes alone, the Yankees have been among the top three teams in all of baseball in terms of wOBA and wRC+. At least until now; 2013 is a new animal altogether. For the first time in what seems like forever, the offense is most certainly not the strength of the team. The Yankees rank 21st in AVG, 19th in wOBA, 24th in wRC+, 19th in K%, and 19th in BB%. Ironically, the only offensive category that the Yankees favorably crack the top 10 in this season so far is in home runs (68 in total, eighth best in MLB — so much for the #toomanyhomers meme).
This is where Tex steps in, and where I personally think he could play a huge role if he can rebound a bit. Immediately, he (and Youkilis) will provide some additional patience to the lineup. As of now, the Yankees have averaged 3.79 pitches per plate appearances – for perspective, 2012′s squad averaged 3.89 Pit/PA, 3.92 in 2011, 3.92 in 2010, and 3.88 in 2009. Power and patience. That’s the Yankees model. It works, and Tex knows how to do it.
With Vernon Wells cooling off and Travis Hafner always one step away from injury, Robinson Cano has been forced to shoulder much of the load in the power department. Home runs are always a good thing and one part of Tex’s game that has always been solid is deep out-of-the-park hits. With a little luck, it may help stem the tide a bit further until the rest of the Walking Wounded return. A few consecutive singles are nice. They’re even nicer when a 4o0-foot blast brings them home.
Additionally, Cano, Lyle Overbay, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, Curtis Granderson and Hafner are really all the Yankees have for left-handed threats. Gardner’s been better of late with the bat, but he’s not the guy who’ll be driving in runs nor is that his role. Given Ichiro‘s struggles, Granderson’s injury, and Hafner’s durability concerns, it’ll be very nice to add another guy capable of batting left-handed. Even if Tex’s splits this season are similar to his last few, he’ll also still likely be an offensive upgrade over Overbay (despite the fact that Overbay is having a great year by his standards thus far). Moreover, having another switch-hitter available provides that much more lineup flexibility for Girardi.
Defensively, Tex provides some options too. As we’ve seen the last few days, Overbay could get some opportunities in right field, which will help mitigate Ichiro’s exposure. When Overbay is at first, Tex can give Pronk a spell at DH which provides him rest and aligns him closer to the situational hitting role he was originally hired for. This also limits the need for Youkilis at first on the depth chart, which can only help given his injury tendencies. Third base and shortstop are still points of concern, but that was basically always the case. At least with Tex at first, you know some of those inevitable throwing errors to first may have a chance of being erased.
The Yankees have done a fantastic job of not just staying alive, but staying competitive with role players while some of their headliner names have been side-lined. However, some of these role players (i.e. Jayson Nix, David Adams, Wells, Overbay) are clearly playing above their norms, or in some cases, have already begun to be exposed. Who knows how long the team can continue to win with these guys starting all the time. Now that some of the marquee players are beginning to return from their various injuries, it’s time for them to step up and contribute. Hopefully they’ll be able to sustain the success, and be a lot less likely to falter down the road. I hope Tex gets the ball the rolling.
The Yankees have officially activated both Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis off the 60-day and 15-day DL, respectively, the team announced. Vidal Nuno and Ivan Nova were sent to Triple-A to clear 25-man roster spots. The Yankees had two open 40-man roster spots, so they didn’t need to make another move to accommodate Tex.
With Andy Pettitte set to turn on Monday, Nuno was an obvious send down candidate. Nova threw 61 pitches on Wednesday and was going to out of commission for another day or two anyway, so he was the other move. I assume both guys will step into the Triple-A Scranton rotation and start every five days. When Pettitte returns, the Yankees are likely to demote a position player — David Adams seems most likely now that his bat has cooled off — and get back to a normal 13 position players, 12 pitchers roster.
In their second minor league rehab game with Double-A Trenton, Mark Teixeira (wrist) and Kevin Youkilis (back) both went for 1-for-3 in seven innings of work. Teixeira grounded into a double play while Youkilis plated a run. Brian Cashman confirmed yesterday both players will rejoin the big league team on Friday if this game went well, and it appears it has. Obviously nothing will be official until tomorrow either way.
1:03pm: Brian Cashman told Josh Norris the plan is to indeed have both Teixeira and Youkilis back with the big league team on Friday. Both have to make it through tomorrow’s game fine first, obviously.
12:39pm: In their first minor league rehab games with Double-A Trenton, Mark Teixeira (wrist) and Kevin Youkilis (back) both went 0-for-2 with a walk in a planned seven innings of play. Teixeira struck out swinging and popped up to the shortstop in his two at-bats, and his only defensive plays at first base involved receiving throws from other infielders. Youkilis popped up to the first baseman in foul territory and was robbed of a base hit on a nice play by the right fielder, fielding just one ball — a soft line drive — at third base.
Both Teixeira and Youkilis will play for the Thunder again tomorrow night, and I assume they’ll play a full nine innings. The official word from the team is that both will be re-evaluated after that game, but there have been hints both could be activated off the DL in time for Friday’s game against the Red Sox.
Later this morning, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis will play their first minor league rehab games with Double-A Trenton. Teixeira has been sidelined since early-March with a wrist injury, Youkilis since earlier this month with a back problem. Both players will spend today and tomorrow with the Thunder, and the Yankees have been dropping hints that both could be activated on Friday if everything goes according to plan. Obviously they’ve yet to say anything officially.
The Yankees have scored a total of five runs in their last three games, and for the month of May they’re averaging just 3.7 runs per game. The AL average is 4.5 runs per game this year. Getting Teixeira and Youkilis back on the same day would be a major boost to the lineup, at least in theory. The problem is that neither guy fill a position of real need right now. Lyle Overbay and David Adams have been competent at worst and rock solid at best at the corner infield spots, where Tex and Youk will ply their trades. They will be upgrades, but first and third bases are hardly problem areas right now.
The true problem areas are catcher, shortstop, and right field. Here, look at this mess (stats don’t include last night’s game, which don’t make it any better anyway):
- Catcher: .239/.300/.380 (92 OPS+) in 183 plate appearances
- Shortstop: .213/.289/.290 (69 OPS+) in 196 plate appearances
- Right Field: .225/.277/.342 (66 OPS+) in 204 plate appearances
That’s three below-average to well-below-average spots in the lineup on any given night, not counting the black hole Vernon Wells has become. The lack of offense at those spots isn’t a “surprise, injury!” thing either. The Yankees willfully replaced Russell Martin and Nick Swisher with inferior players this offseason, and Derek Jeter‘s injury was known way back in October. The team decided Eduardo Nunez and various scraps would be good enough should the 38-year-old icon not heal exactly on schedule.
There is no immediate help coming to shore up those three positions. Jeter has yet to resume baseball activates following his setback and isn’t expected to return until sometime around the All-Star break. Curtis Granderson saw a specialist about his fractured left pinky yesterday and will be shut down a minimum of four weeks, meaning he’ll likely miss at least six weeks when you include rehab games and all that. Frankie Cervelli will head to Tampa later this week to continue rehabbing from his fractured hand, but he has yet to begin throwing a ball or anything like that.
Assuming Youkilis and Teixeira make it through their Trenton assignments okay and are indeed activated on Friday, I think the Yankees will clear room on the roster by optioning Brennan Boesch and a pitcher to Triple-A Scranton. It makes sense to get the 13-man pitching staff down to a normal dozen, and I guess it’ll be one of Ivan Nova, Shawn Kelley, and Preston Claiborne who goes down. Seems obvious it should be Nova, no? The other two have been solid and Nova could start every five days in a non-results-oriented environment to work on things.
That leaves the Yankees will a four-man bench of Jayson Nix/Reid Brignac, Adams, Overbay, and the backup catcher. Nix, who has a handful of big league appearances in left and right fields, would be the de factor fourth outfielder. Overbay would be a spot starter at first base and DH as well as being Joe Girardi‘s go-to lefty bat off the bench. Adams would be the backup second and third baseman, and would probably see plenty of action against lefties.
Carrying what amounts to three first base/DH types in Teixeira, Overbay, and Travis Hafner is far from ideal, but I get the sense the Yankees want to keep Overbay around until they know Teixeira’s wrist is in the clear. Not only did Girardi say they plan to ease Teixeira back into the lineup earlier this week, but wrists are tricky and generally easy to re-injury. I doubt they want to dump Overbay only to have Teixeira go down a week or two later. It’s an imperfect roster, but I assume it would only be a short-term thing.
The returns of Youkilis and Teixeira will improve New York’s offense, especially against left-handed pitchers. Like, super duper improve against lefties. It would help if they played positions other than first and third, but that’s life. The Yankees need all the lineup help they can get right now and aren’t in a position to beg. There are no solutions for those catcher, shortstop, and right field problems on the horizon though, so the offense will continue to be a problem even after the two big corner bats return in a few days.
Kevin Youkilis will begin an official minor league rehab assignment tomorrow, joining Mark Teixeira with Double-A Trenton. Joe Girardi indicated both guys will play two games with the Thunder before rejoining the big league team on Friday, but nothing is official. Youkilis has been sidelined for almost a month now with a back problem.
Friday: Teixeira will indeed join Double-A Trenton for a rehab assignment next week according to George King. He will play with the Thunder on Wednesday and Thursday, and it’s unclear what happens after that since Trenton is heading out on a road trip. I have to think he’ll need more than two rehab games, however.
Thursday: Via Erik Boland: Mark Teixeira could join Double-A Trenton for an official rehab assignment as soon as next Tuesday. He’s been hitting in the cage and in simulated games down in Tampa, and I assume he’ll squeeze in a few Extended Spring Training at-bats before joining the Thunder.
Teixeira, 33, has been out with an injury to the tendon sheath in his right wrist since early March, so his rehab assignment is probably going to last longer than two or three days. He might be there for a week considering he missed a big chunk of Spring Training and needs to iron out two swings. Lyle Overbay has started to cool off recently and if nothing else, getting Teixeira in the lineup will be a huge help against left-handed pitchers.