Just when the Yankees are surging into first place and making some distance from everyone else in the AL East, help is on the way. Mark Teixeira is ready to come off the disabled list, and should be in the lineup Sunday. While the Yankees bench guys have been doing great in his absence, it will be a huge upgrade to the recently thin lineup.
Teixeira played 3 innings in a rehab game Thursday, where he said he felt fantastic. Additionally, Teixeira played a full game with five at bats today, where he said, “Another good day…couldn’t be happier with how it’s going.”
Coming into the 2014 season, Teixeira, and everyone else, was worried about how his wrist would hold up after only playing in 15 games last season. However, it has been his hamstring keeping him on the sidelines this season. He is expected to play seven innings in a game tomorrow. If there are no hiccups in that game, the switch hitter will be at Tropicana field for the final game of the 4 game set with the Rays.
Teixeira’s arrival at first base will shift the infield just a bit. Kelly Johnson was working at first base in his absence and will now most likely be the odd man out because of the explosion of Yangervis Solarte. Solarte can play any position and may be at second base, which would allow Johnson to move to third and remain in the lineup. Most likely, Brian Roberts will start at second and Joe Girardi will move Solarte back to third. Johnson should take solace that Roberts will need multiple days off per week, even when healthy, and he will still have a few hundred at bats this season. Solarte is the real deal and Girardi will not be taking out the player that is in the top five in the American League in both batting average and on base percentage.
The return of Mark Teixeira gives the Yankees flexibility and power. Luckily the team is already in first place and has leeway when adjusting to their new everyday lineup. It’s time to see how long Tex can stay healthy…again.