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Mark Teixeira says his swing is still hampered

Mar 28, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT

Mark Teixeira AP

Everyone’s optimistic until the season starts, then the old injuries and uncertainties ooze back in. Guys who “felt great” in February and early March start the season on the DL. Guys who had that optimistic story about their comeback featured back then fall back into the same ruts they were in before.

I worry that we’re going to see that with Mark Teixeira:

“I’m not trusting that the wrist is healthy,’’ Teixeira told The Post Thursday at Steinbrenner Field.

“I’m just trying to protect it,’’ he said. “Taking your ‘A’ swing, taking that swing that is 100 percent and I need to trust that I can do that and not feel pain. I need to finish my swing instead of protecting my wrist. Last year, to protect my wrist, I didn’t finish my swing.’’

He says he feels good, but that he’s still not confident enough to take full swings. Anyone want to bet against this turning into “he doesn’t feel good” sometime in April? Or a DL stint soon thereafter? One hopes not, but that lowering-of-confidence-and-expectations pattern we so often see with players returning from injuries looks a lot like this.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    The maybe he should do some laundry hahaha know what I mean?!

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    Yet he is still being stubborn about trying to go the other way to beat the shift. You know, hitting to all fields like he did before he signed with the Yankees and was so thoroughly seduced by the short porch that he abandoned a decades old approach to try to yank a few extra balls into the people.

    This might be the time for intelligence to prevail over determination, Mark.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Yeah, I’m thinking this might actually force him to hit the other way instead of trying to pull every single pitch no matter where it’s located.

  4. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    I remember being so angry when he signed with the Yankees over Baltimore. Now I can’t help but feel we really dodged a bullet there.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      It just goes to show that long-term contracts are risky. In New York, Teixeira was terrific for three years and, when healthy, very good in the fourth. Last year was the fifth year, and he played in 15 games.

      I can’t say that I watched his career all that closely, but I don’t recall anything that suggested through his first six years (pre-free agency) that he was any sort of risk for decline. He was a great player, and (as first basemen go) a complete one. (The defensive stats don’t like him, but I’ve always been impressed.)

      If the Yankees had signed him to a 3-year deal, it would have been magnificent for them, though there were would have been pressure to re-sign him at exactly the moment of decline. If they had signed him to a four-year deal, it would have been great, too, because the team would have been forewarned about the decline. But it’s an 8-year deal, and now he’s (likely to be) an albatross.

      I swear I’m not picking on the Yankees here. This seems to happen with almost every deal longer than four years. And yet, that’s what the best players get. If you want the next Mark Teixeira to be on your team for three or four years (and everyone does!), chances are, you’ll have to pay him for eight years.

      • 18thstreet - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        Imagine if the Yankees had signed him for $35 million a year for three years ($105 million) instead of $22.5 million a year for 8 years ($180 million). Everyone would have lost their minds, but it would have been a better deal for them. And Teixeira might have accepted it along with the chance to be a free agent at age 31.

        One wonders (well, I wonder, anyway) if any team is going to sign a top free agent to that kind of contract.

    • genericcommenter - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      Yep, you wouldn’t want to win a WS or anything.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:43 AM

        Yes, because he’s the only reason the Yanks won one. And he would have been the one thing to push the O’s over the edge.

        /sarcasm font

  5. largebill - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    I’m reading this a little differently. Sounds as if this is not a physical limitation. I think he is saying that something is subconsiously keeping him from swinging freely. Back in the early 80’s, I had recurring ankle sprains which would get inflame when jogging if I stepped in a bad spot or slightly rolled the ankle. Well, after a few times of having it happen and being gimpy for a week or so you end up running a little more hesitantly than before. Tex may know he should finish the swing but he is unable to convince his body.

    • beachnbaseball - Mar 28, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      I think you’re right. I snapped an ankle years ago. I rehabbed after the cast came off and was told by my doctors that the x-rays showed it was fully healed and I could resume normal activities. But it took me almost 2 years after that to feel confident that if I tried to stretch it out I wouldn’t snap it again.

  6. spudchukar - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Still rooting for the guy to rebound, but those .091/.121/.407 ST numbers are foreboding. And where is the alternative, and how could Cashman not make preparations for, not just the worst case scenario, but one that was flashing neon.

    Those aren’t “struggling” numbers, they are “unplayable” numbers. And it isn’t like there are quality options at 1B tangling on the waiver wires. An unproductive corner infielder slotted to occupy the 6th spot in the batting order doesn’t just increase the woeful bottom part of the Yankee order, he jeopardizes the #5 spot too. Cause nobody is going to pitch to a #5 guy in a meaningful situation when the #6 guy is sporting those kind of numbers.

    And to make matters even worse he is 1 for 23 with 9 K’s hitting left-handed, which is where he will be getting most of his ABs.

    Can Cervelli play 1B?

    • 18thstreet - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      What about Soriano? Can he play first?

      Man, that would solve some problems, wouldn’t it?

      • spudchukar - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        Sure worth a shot, and I cannot think of any other option that is better, outside of an acquisition, and like you insinuate, it would free up the DH.

        Soriano would probably be pretty at first, but unless Tex improves, I don’t know why they wouldn’t try it.

  7. ez4u2sa - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Starting with the excuses already.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      Are you suggesting he’s lying about the extent of his injury?

      • ez4u2sa - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        What do you think?

      • 18thstreet - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        Speaking for wimps everywhere, I think it’s a hell of a thing to accuse someone of. It’s so easy to sideline me with pretty minor pains, I can’t imagine what these guys play through.

      • paperlions - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        Being a reasonable person, I think that wrist injuries are horrible things for hitters to try to recover from, and know that such injuries usually take well over a year for the player to be back to full strength.

        Two notable examples are Jeter and Ortiz; each had a down year after a wrist injury…you can still play with one, but the bat speed and wrist strength are gone and take a while to come back.

  8. rbj1 - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Cue Doomwatch.

  9. isaiah007 - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    I know he help win a WS and Yankee fans should be forever grateful because remember it was signing him from the angels that they used that pick to draft Mike Trout! Lol. Along with just putting Kendreys Morlaes at 1b who matched Tex numbers until that fluke injury, I would say That turned out pretty well for the Angels

  10. sandwiches4ever - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Dooooooooooooooooooooom.

  11. serbingood - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Seems like batting from the left side is causing the mental issues. Maybe he should bite the bullet and just bat right handed up to the All Star game. That might help him get over the mental what if issue and still be very productive for the team and himself.

  12. cackalackyank - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    I keep hearing how the NYY are done spending this year, and then I read this. Since I don’t think they have really identified anyone but Kelly Johnson as a backup for 1B, just whom is going to play 1B (or 3B) when the obviously inevitable long DL stint for Tex begins? Where is Kendrys Morales right now?

  13. sportsfan18 - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    He’s just getting his “excuse” out there now, at the beginning of the season…

    This will be his reason for batting .241 and going in and out of the lineup all yr…

    He WAS great once upon a time… been a long time though and his stats have gone down hill for many seasons now…

    Injuries are a shame… look at what happened to Matt Kemp… he won’t be healthy this season either…

  14. babehuee - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    He gave us four pretty good years. He signed with us and not the Orioles or Sox. I was very happy when he did. When Baltimore wins something then maybe their fans can say something.

  15. babehuee - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    How have the Angels fared in the last five years? That’s what I thought.

  16. insidefastball - Mar 28, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    The fact that he was obviously not 100% in spring training makes me wonder why he Yanks didn’t take a serious look at Kendrys Morales. These days, his bat is probably equal to, or better than, Tex.

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