If you are a follower of the New York Yankees, you are well aware that there has been a lot of attention directed to future Hall of Fame shortstop, Derek Jeter—and with good reason. The Captain, since announcing this year would be his last on the field, has given all who follow MLB, not just Yankee fans, the opportunity to reflect on his well-decorated career.
Much to do has also been made about the Bronx Bomber’s off-season free agent acquisitions of veterans Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran—all, of which, critics claimed were players either over-priced or passed their time.
Before we move on, all three of those new Yankees have produced good numbers this first quarter of the season. They have also held up rather well, sans Beltran who recently went to the disabled list.
Once you sift through all the over-blown, over-analyzed and over-scrutinized rubble that IS the New York Yankees… flying, ever-so-quietly under the radar in all this Big Apple hoopla, has been former All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira. Teixeira has been a bit of a forgotten man this year in the Yankee line-up. Well, for everyone except the Yankees themselves it seems. He has been penciled in as the everyday first baseman since day one. No doubt there.
After missing all but 15 games in 2013 because of a wrist injury, the 34-year old five-time Gold Glove winner found himself on the disabled after only four games starting this season.
Yankee fans were no doubt saying to themselves, “Here we go again.” “He’s done!” “We shoulda gotten Field-ah! (referring to Texas Ranger’s first baseman, Prince Fielder)” Even the team brass must’ve began wondering how they were going to get out of Teixeira’s contract after this latest set-back.
Well not so fast, my pinstripe worshipping friends. Following this past weekend’s interleague series against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Yankee Stadium, amongst the team leaders in offensive categories is none other than Mr. Teixeira.
Best know, during his 12-year MLB career, as a power hitting, run-producer, Teixeira is back to his old tricks and seems to be heating up. In his last 10 games he has produced nine RBI with at least one in seven of those contests. He has also found his home run stroke from the left side of the plate going yard four times in that span.
On Saturday, during the Yanks 7-1 victory over the Bucs, Teixeira went 1-4 with that one hit being his 350th career tater—good for two runs. Typical Teixeira. If he can stay healthy we may be talking about Comeback Player of the Year this fall.
Come to think of it, he may have to split it with Jeter, who is right there with the big first baseman keeping the Bombers in the thick of things in the AL East.
With New York’s pitching staff, that a month ago seemed so promising, decimated by injuries, it has become the steady offensive production from the old guys that has the Yankees atop the division. With Teixeira being a huge culprit.
In a season where it looks as though the AL East will go down to the last month as always—with all five teams hovering around .500, it will be interesting to see if the senior Yankees, namely the once written-off Teixeira can remain on the diamond and lead New York back to the post-season.