Late Tuesday night, in the Texas heat, Joe Girardi pulled Mark Teixeira in the sixth inning of a blowout. The next night, Girardi didn’t put Teixiera in the lineup at all.
In two games since, Teixeira has four home runs, a double, a single, three walks and eight RBI.
“That’s the whole reason (to rest players), so they stay fresh and they have their legs and they can drive the baseball,” Girardi said. “You try to pick your spots. As valuable as he’s been to us, you don’t want to sit him too much. But you try to pick your spots.”
Last year, Teixeira was actually pretty productive early in the season, but he faded badly. He became less productive and battled a series of nagging injuries. He appreciates the value of a day off now and then, and he’s reaping the rewards with 28 home runs and 78 RBI this season.
“The two days off since the break really helped,” Teixiera said. “Just seeing the ball really well right now. The bat’s feeling quick and getting some good pitches to hit.”
Tonight was the 14th time Teixeira homered from each side of the plate in a single game. That’s a Major League record (Teixeira was tied with Nick Swisher). One of tonight’s homers was Teixeira’s 10th career grand slam and second grand slam of the season.
“I’ve said it since spring training,” Teixeira said. “I feel really good, I feel strong, the wrist is healthy and that’s all I can really ask for.”
• In his 100th career start, Nathan Eovaldi got his 11th win of the season. He’s 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his past five road starts, and he’s allowed three runs or less in each of his past eight starts. “Evo had a lot of long innings he had to sit through tonight,” Girardi said. “He gave us a lot of pitches tonight and he did a good job.”
• Bryan Mitchell will start for the Yankees tomorrow. Girardi said he left Eovaldi stay in the game for 117 pitches because he’s using a piece of the bullpen to start tomorrow. Of course, it remains to be seen how the Yankees use Mitchell going forward. Diego Moreno will be available as a long man tomorrow.
• Despite throwing all those pitches, Eovaldi still lasted just 5.2 innings. He still has trouble working deep in games quite often. “That’s been one of my big things,” Eovaldi said. “I’ve been trying to work on it, slowly and steadily attack the third time through. You don’t want to get into a battle with one batter that is seven or eight pitches. You want to throw four or five pitches and get out of the inning. It just takes one pitch.”
• Does Girardi had a problem with Eovaldi’s difficulty working deeper into games? “He’s winning games and he’s pitching well,” Girardi said. “It is what it is. However we need to win games, we’ll win games. I think he’s grown up a lot this year. I don’t know if that’s his 10th or 11th win for us, but he’s pitched pretty well. I’m not going to complain. I’m happy with what he’s doing.”
• Brendan Ryan had a three-hit game, but he was mostly laughing postgame about his absurd strikeout against Adam LaRoche in the ninth inning. LaRoche is a first baseman, and he was throwing super slow curveballs mixed with a mid-80s fastball. “It’s comical,” Ryan said, who laughed during and after the at-bat. “It’s not fun, but you have to have fun with it. He’s throwing 50-mph curveballs. I’m taking four steps before I get there. I didn’t know what the heck he was going to do that last pitch, and obviously I found out he could throw it right past me. Good times. Whatever. We won the game, that’s all that matters.”
• Ryan said catcher Geovany Soto actually joked with him that the stadium would erupt if he struck out. Ryan said, as you can imagine, that it was a horribly uncomfortable at-bat just because it was so different from anything else. That final fastball? “I had no chance on that one,” he said. “I tried to get to it, but after the 50-mph whatever it was, it looked like 110. Oh well. It kind of fits with the mustache, right? That’s the kind of at-bat I think I should have. I don’t know. Ridiculous.”
• Funny that the strikeout actually came in such a good game for Ryan. He’s hitting .314 this season. “He’s made a little bit of an adjustment with the hitting coaches and he’s swinging the bat good,” Girardi said. “He’s fresh. He’s happy to be playing; he went through a frustrating time getting hurt in spring training and then getting hurt again, so I just think he’s enjoying the moments.”
• CC Sabathia is back with the team after spending last night in a Texas hospital because of dehydration. “Once I came out of the game I was exhausted,” he said. “I was done. It was really hard for me to get my uniform off. I got back to the training room and I felt nauseous, my head was hurting. They decided to hook me up to some IVs.” When the IVs didn’t do the trick, that’s when Sabathia was sent to the hospital. He said his whole body was cramping.
• The Yankees have said they’ll wait until the end of the weekend to decide how Sabathia should proceed, whether he needs to skip a turn. “I think I’m good,” he said. “I usually hydrate really good before games, in between games and in between innings, nights before. This was just a tough one.”
• Final word goes to Ryan: “The chemistry (of the team) has been outstanding. It’s genuine. Everyone is pulling for each other. It’s a great clubhouse to be a part of. I haven’t really been a part of an environment like this. Everyone’s looking forward to coming to the field and it’s a fun thing to be a part of, I’ll tell ya.”
Associated Press photos