It wasn’t very long ago that people were doubting whether New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira would or could ever return to his former glory as one of the big bats in the middle of the batting order. Many of those questions have been answered, as Tex has hit two big home runs, one in Boston, the other at home against the Angels, and adding that he feels similar to his pre-injury form. That is the greatest news any Yankees’ fan or the team could ever hope for.
With the loss of Robinson Cano, and the additions of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, the lineup appeared to be better, by being lengthened. For the Yankees, it starts and finished with their Gold Glove, switch-hitting first baseman. Tex also blasted his third home run in five games in Tuesday’s loss against–Cano and the Mariners. Teixeira tells the NY Daily News:
It tells me I’m getting better; I’m getting close,” Teixeira said. “When you start driving the ball, you know that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s a good sign.” (h/t Mark Feinsand, NY Daily News)
It’s the perfect time to be pleasantly surprised by the reemergence of Teixeira, as the pitching staff has been crushed by injuries, the first to Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery) and to Michael Pineda (upper back strain). Youngsters like Vidal Nuno and David Phelps now find themselves manning the rotation, which leaves the bullpen extremely thin.
Teixeira’s numbers are still down for the most part, but he continues to show signs of life. He is 2-for-10 during the homestand, but both of those hits are of the four-bag variety. His on-base percentage, while not what it once was, is still decent at .375. He is still leaving the yard at the same pace he has throughout his career, but his batting average continues to slide every season since his arrival in the Bronx. The most disturbing number is his slugging percentage, which is down 45 south of his career mark of .525. The numbers may not be what they once were, but if Teixeira and his power stick can continue to be a dangerous presence in the Yankees’ lineup, it buys the team time until Pineda gets healthy and returns, or the team can come up with some additional answers for their injury-plagued pitching staff.