Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
The “aged, oft injured” Mark Teixeira seems to have found new life in the early stages of the 2014 season, leading the New York Yankees to an early lead in the AL East. The 34-year old first baseman has gotten off to a hot start, especially as of late.
On the season, Teixeira is batting .271, with a .403 on base percentage, 5 home runs, and 11 runs batted in. His last week is what impresses the most however, with a slash line of .333 AVG, 3 home runs, and 6 runs batted in. The Yankees, however, have only gone 2-5 in that stretch, but they still hold first place in the AL East.
Teixeira suffered a leg injury in April which caused him to land on the disabled list, but he;s certainly rebounded nicely. Teixeira brings a lofty injury history with him, including a wrist injury which limited him to only 15 games in 2013.
Having a healthy, and productive Teixeira back in the lineup would be vital for this New York Yankees squad. Aside from Derek Jeter at shortstop (who has been under-producing for his standards) New York doesn’t exactly have the most star-studded infield. Names like Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts are being relied upon to spend crucial time in New York’s lineup, so naturally, Mark is a welcomed face.
While Teixeira may not produce anymore 40 home run seasons like he did in Texas, he’s still a deadly hitter from both sides of the plate. The Yankees as a whole have a .262 batting average, 4th in the American League. Bringing in a Teixeira who can produce more weeks like the one he previously had, New York can expect that 4th overall ranking to steadily rise.
Now, the next big question is if Mark can hold up for the rest of the season. As a 34-year old, it’s expected that he may miss some games here and there due to fatigue, but will another big injury arise and derail Mark’s season? For his career, Teixeira averages 127 games per season, but he hasn’t appeared in over 150 games since the 2011 season. He had surgery on his wrist back in 2013, and while that problem seems to be off the horizon, a leg issue flared up in April.
While it may not be a crisis at the moment, losing Teixeira to an injury would be extremely worrisome for the Yankees and could potentially drop them out of the playoff race if he was to miss an extended amount of time. New York doesn’t have an incredible amount of depth, and Teixeira is by far their best option at first base. If he can produce like he has so far, the veteran Yankees could be in store for an eventful season.