Mark Teixeira has had better springs before. The 34-year-old has hit a miserable .086 (3-35) with 11 Ks, and only one extra base hit. Some have questioned Tex’s health, but the slugger vehemently denies reinjuring his problematic right wrist.
Hitting Coach Kevin Long thinks he has figured out some of the reasons behind Teixeira’s woes. Tex is a switch-hitter, and during his swings from the left side of home plate, he would release the bat much earlier than he should. Presumably, it was a subconscious attempt to protect his wrist, which has been operated on. Says Teixeira, “Lefthanded, mentally I have to continue to remember that it’s healthy now and even though it might be a little bit tight, and every now and then it’s a little bit sore, I can still take that full swing,” Teixeira said. “It was unbelievable how early I was letting go of my (left) hand to protect the (right) wrist. Just really a bad mechanical thing.”
Of course, there is another side of the batter’s box to worry about. Teixeira’s upper cut swing has always led to great power numbers, but as he progresses through this season, his hacks don’t look pretty. For now, Joe Girardi will probably trot Teixeira out at first base on a regular basis, and hope Long and Tex correct the first baseman’s cuts. Mark Teixeira has played in the Major Leagues since 2003; he knows how to get out of slumps, and he is a born power-hitter. Plus, he is a notoriously slow starter who only starts to heat up in May. Even if he doesn’t get his average up, twenty homers for Teixeira is a given. But if Long fixes Tex’s lefty swing, then many fans beyond the fences will bring home souvenirs.