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Teixeira commits to more time in the cage

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Podcast on Feb 19, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

This winter, Mark Teixeira bought a pitching machine. He gave it to Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy in Stamford, CT., where kids can use the machine for their own batting practice. It’s available to anyone. Most days, anyway.

“They make sure that, when I’m in there, I get the cage to myself,” Teixeira said.

It took Teixeira four or five weeks to rebound from his October hamstring injury, and it took him until the end of December to begin to feel comfortable with his bruised hand and broken toe, but when he was healthy enough to swing a bat, Teixeira started hitting. And he kept hitting.

Last year was unusually inconsistent for the Yankees first baseman. He finished with the lowest batting average of his career, and the lowest slugging percentage since his rookie year. He hit .244 against right-handed pitchers. To remedy those numbers, he’s committed himself to more time in the cage, whether back home in Connecticut or down here in Tampa or back at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

“At the end of the day, no matter how long I’ve been playing baseball, I’m still a right-handed hitter who switch hits,” Teixeira said. “I’ve had to work harder at it (from the left side)… That muscle memory is very, very important. My attitude this year is, if I have a half hour, instead of putting it in the gym lifting weight, put it in the cage and make sure my left-handed swing is consistent.”

Manager Joe Girardi said he never considered pulling Teixeira out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup last season, trusting that a hitter who had shown such consistency would eventually hit up to his ability. And Teixera had stretches of his old MVP-caliber self.

But Teixeira is also well aware that last season was not up to his standards. He’s also aware that last year started with another bad month of April, something he would like to avoid this time around.

“This spring training, I told K-Long, give me some tough love,” Teixeira said. “Don’t tell me I’m doing OK if I’m not. I want to make sure, April 1 or March 30, whatever it is, that we’re ready to go.”

Here’s Teixeira.

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Associated Press photo

 
 

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67 Responses to “Teixeira commits to more time in the cage”

  1. PhiltheThrill February 19th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    He just has to remember he’s a great hitter and stop believing he’s a slow starter.

  2. SJ44 February 19th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    This should give G Love the warm and fuzzies! lol

  3. Abe Peterham February 19th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Boy, a monster start/ year from Tex would be sweeeeet!

  4. YankeeRay February 19th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Sounds good to get him off to a fast start. That said, I still bat him fifth.

    I’d go with :
    Gardner
    Jeter
    Cano
    Arod
    Tex
    Swisher
    Granderson
    Posada
    Martin

    Go with the R/L lineup all the way through and against a RHP you would have 4 straight lefties from 5-8 with 3 of them being SH so even if they brought in a LHP you’d be fine.

    Gardners patience and speed in front of Jeter who can hit the hole between 1st and 2nd when Gardners on base. Arod protects Cano who deserves a shot at the 3 hole where he can still drive in runs. Tex protects Arod and Swishers SH protects Tex.

  5. trisha - true pinstriped blue February 19th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    I trust him, I don’t care where he bats, I love what he offers to the Yanks in defense even when his offense isn’t up to par. I have a good feeling about his offense this season.

    It’s all good.

  6. SAS February 19th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Trisha,

    Sorry to hear about your car problems. I drive an Acura in NY and love mine. The lease will be up soon, and unless I can make another great deal, I doubt I will get another.

  7. 108 stitches February 19th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Tough love means having Kevin Long explain to Mark Teixeira a similar thing he did with Swisher and Granderson …….. less moving parts in the batter’s box. There’s timing mechanisms and there’s wasted energy. The end result should be better concentration.
    His glove will never suffer. By itself he saves a lot of runs in the course of a season.

  8. Fran the original February 19th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    IMO Alex, Tex and Robbie are interchangable in the 3, 4 and 5 slots.

  9. pat February 19th, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Amazing how far medical science has come that heart surgery is talked about so casually.

    “After undergoing heart surgery this week at a New York hospital, Yankees prospect Gary Sanchez has been cleared to resume workouts Monday.

    During a recent EKG, the 18-year-old catcher was found to have an extra nerve in his heart from birth. Surgery was performed to cauterize the nerve.

    General manager Brian Cashman said Thursday that Sanchez was OK.

    “Trust me, there are no worries now about Gary Sanchez,” Cashman said.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports.....z1ERqIlINd

  10. G. Love February 19th, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    SJ,

    I feel completely warm and fuzzy after reading this post. Of course my 100 pound Yellow Lab is sitting on me so that might explain it.

    I’m tough on Teix because the Yankees spent a fortune on him to be a cornerstone guy. Even CB was agreeing with me last year that this is not the hitter we thought we were getting.

    If the injuries are to blame, he’ll make us all forget about last season quickly. I hope Long works his magic on him too. We need him to be better than last season. Especially with a pitching staff with this many question marks.

  11. West Coast Yankee Fan February 19th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    From ESPN.com today. Muy interesante.

    “Manager Joe Girardi acknowledged the possibility that Cano could hit as high as third in the 2011 lineup, a spot occupied for the past two years by Mark Teixeira.

    “We’ll continue to talk about our lineup and how guys fit in. Right now we don’t expect a ton of changes,” Girardi said. “We’re going to discuss everything and try to put out the best lineup that we feel every day.”

    Asked if he foresaw Cano as a No. 3 or even a cleanup hitter, a spot he took over for 26 games last year when Alex Rodriguez was injured, hitting .324 with seven homers and 28 RBIs, Girardi said, “I think you could probably hit him anywhere you want.”

  12. SAS February 19th, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    pat,

    It is amazing that heart surgery can be such these days that the GM of a team can say No Worries about this. Good luck Gary.

  13. West Coast Yankee Fan February 19th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I think this is the opening day lineup (not accounting for left-handed or right handed pitcher). What I think Girardi will do; not necessarily what I would do.

    Jeter-SS
    Swisher-RF
    Teixeira-1B
    A-Rod-3B
    Cano-2B
    Posada-DH
    Granderson-CF
    Martin-C
    Gardner-LF

  14. Betsy February 19th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Well we certainly can’t say that Tex isn’t a hard worker……

  15. SJ44 February 19th, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    G Love,

    The guy was hurt all last year.

    When your hands or thumbs are hurting, it really messes you up.

    You do so much to try and get comfortable, you can get into some bad habits.

    During a season, Tex is a guy who likes to do a lot of extra cage work. From May on, he couldn’t do that because of the hand/wrist/thumb injuries. That made it tougher to correct bad habits you fall into.

    Sometimes, you have a season you just have to grind thru and that was 2010 for Tex.

    A healthy Tex will be a productive Tex.

    The guy’s skills are not eroding.

  16. pat February 19th, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Feinsand also writes about a possible move north in the order for Cano.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blo.....nt=Twitter

  17. West Coast Yankee Fan February 19th, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    My read on Girardi as regards the batting order and his statement above is that it’s a heads-up to Jeter and Tex that he will make changes this year should they not perform. Just my opinion.

  18. Betsy February 19th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    He wasn’t hurt in April and May, SJ – Tex was awful those two months, except for a brief surge around the 2nd week in May

  19. Crawdaddy February 19th, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    It appears Tex lives in my homestate of Connecticut now.

  20. Pat M. February 19th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    SJ……I’ve always maintained that an MVP awaits him during his tenure in Pinstripes and thai very well will be the year…..If not for his slow start in 09 he would have won the Trophy……..How’s Tony’s camp going ????

  21. SJ44 February 19th, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    He first got hurt in May Betsy.

    He hurt his wrist and hand in the middle of May

    He then hurt his thumb for the first time in June and re-injured it in Chicago later in the year and that injury stayed with him until December.

  22. SJ44 February 19th, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Craw,

    Tex lives in Greenwich.

    Pat M,

    Tony is doing well. Really swinging the ball well early.

    Swing is back to where it was pre-injury.

  23. SJ44 February 19th, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Swinging the “bat” well. Sorry for the typo.

  24. Betsy February 19th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    SJ, then I was wrong. Either way, Tex needs to be better than he was last year and it seems like he is taking steps to improve. I look forward to him having a bang up year

  25. Ruby Tuesday February 19th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    The truth is Mark Teixeira has never been a very good hitter — and never will be .

    Regardless of how often he works in the batting cage , he will never be Adrian Gonzalez — who Peter Abraham today just called Ted Williams, Jr.

  26. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I expect Tex to be much closer to his career norms in 2011 with better health but also think that he could benefit from some adjustments primarily from the left side…..less movement, stronger back leg, flatter swing plane. These things will not only help him be more consistent now but allow him to have more success as he ages and as he loses bat speed. All that said, I like Cano in the 3 hole and Tex hitting behind Alex. I think it’ll put him in the best spot to drive in runs and perhaps take some pressure off him in April.

  27. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Ted Williams Jr……that’s rich….the guy has hit .300 one time and has a career OPS under .900. He’ll get a bump from Fenway but give me a break….

  28. Crawdaddy February 19th, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Ruby must be the pet troll for some Yankee fans because they keep feeding him, thus, he never goes away.

  29. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Ted Williams had one season where his OPS was under 1.0 and that was when he was 40 years old….he followed it up with a 1.096 as a 41 year old. Gonzalez has yet to even post a single season above that number.

  30. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    This isn’t about Ruby….its about Pete Ab. saying something like that.

  31. Pat M. February 19th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    SJ…….I have to think that Tony gets a nice look at by the organization this March before heading over to the minor league complex……

  32. Pat M. February 19th, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    blake….Texeria pretty much gutted out the 2010 season….

  33. BoJo February 19th, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Didn’t Ted Williams Jr try to cut the heads off people (like his dad)? Does Abrams mean that AGon will take the heads off other players? Is there a freezer large enough in Fenwqay to house all those oversized craniums?

  34. Ys Guy February 19th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    every time someone mentions ted williams, i get this splitting headache…

  35. randy l. February 19th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    “The truth is Mark Teixeira has never been a very good hitter”

    damn, and i thought he was good. the last time i saw him in person, he was hitting three home runs at fenway park.

    the luxury box i was in next to henry’s box was very nice , but i was kind of lonely being the only one in it for the last two innings when all the red sox fans went home because the red sox were getting slaughtered.

    being the last one out and shutting off the lights in a red sox luxury box after a yankee bashing was priceless.

    did i mention that beckett got hammered after drilling someone ?

    i can’t wait to get some more of those bad hitters like teixeira.

    by the way, red sox fans should never invite me to fenway park.

    i’m a jinx.

  36. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Pat M,

    Yea I know and I think he’ll be better next year…..flipping he and Cano isn’t a demotion, its just where the players fit better IMO and with Cano just entering his prime. It really won’t make much of a difference either way.

  37. BoJo February 19th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Craw–I think Tex olives out by the Conyers Farm area where Cone lives (or used to live).

  38. upstate kate February 19th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Randy
    maybe we should take up a collection and get you season’s tickets

  39. NYY fan in NH February 19th, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Gardner
    Jeter
    Cano
    Arod
    Tex
    Swisher
    Granderson
    Posada
    Martin
    ____________

    I haven’t heard any one mention the possibility of Montero’s bat added to that lineup at points during the season. If he has a good ST, then the Yanks have a pleasant problem, but you cannot keep a bat like his out of the lineup to long. Power to all fields, high OBP. .300 avg.

  40. Ys Guy February 19th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    just joking! thank you mr williams!

    http://sacriliciousmarketing.c.....lliams.jpg

  41. Pat M. February 19th, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    blake….I think Giradi likes have a switch hitter in the 3 hole, however Cano could very easily handle that spot in the lineup though

  42. Tar February 19th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    I kind of like this Teixeira guy, I think the Yankees should keep him around.

    SJ

    You know we are all rooting for Tony. Any and all updates are most welcome.

    BTW that goodwill does not extend to his his Alma mater. Who almost gave Blake and me a heart attack today.

  43. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Tar,

    no doubt ;)

  44. exiledintampa February 19th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Hi, I’d like to see the first workouts tomorrow. anyone know the times they’re scheduled to practice?

  45. upstate kate February 19th, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Tar/Blake
    I can sympathize. I felt that way watching the ‘cuse game.

  46. West Coast Yankee Fan February 19th, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    For all you stat-afficionados. These are excepts from the recently posted perspective of Dave Cameron Managing Editor at FanGraphs: (published yesterday on ESPN IN)

    “An increase in Sabathia’s walk and ground ball rates combined with a diminishing strikeout rate do not bode well for his future”.

    “When the Yankees signed Sabathia, he was a dominating strikeout starter, worthy of the huge contract that they bestowed upon him. Now, at age 30 and with more than 33,000 pitches thrown in the big leagues, Sabathia appears to be transitioning out of being that kind of pitcher, and the new approach he is gravitating toward is less likely to lead to ace-like numbers.”

    While he’s still likely to be a good pitcher going forward, the Yankees could likely replace what Sabathia will give them from 2012 to 2015. He’s currently making $23 million per year and will probably make at least that much on his next deal, and for more years. When you consider Sabathia’s declining numbers, having him opt out of his deal wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for New York.”

  47. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Tar,

    That was just a dreadful game. That’s probably the worst I’ve seen them play since the start of the season but its a win…..they’ll have to play better than that though.

  48. Doreen February 19th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Just from reading the comments by some random Yankees, most notably Tex and Hughes, I sense that this is a team on a mission; a team that that was not satisfied with the outcome, even though they finished just 2 games away from the World Series. This is a team with character, and drive, and purpose, and a chip on their shoulder, both as a team and as individual players who see room for improvement and who disdain any excuses (injury, fatigue, etc.)

    It makes me very excited for this team.

  49. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Sabathia is getting more ground balls because he’s throwing more 2 seamers and pitching more than he has in the past. That doesn’t mean he’s not just as good…..that article is ridiculous

  50. SJ44 February 19th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Thank God Dave Cameron is just a stat head and not the GM.

    If hevthinks Sabathia is replaceable, he really needs to step away from the computer and actually watch some games.

    As pitchers mature, they become more economical with their pitches.

    He doesn’t need to be a K machine and still be a dominant, #1 starter.

  51. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    This is one of the problems with looking at ground ball rates and all this peripheral stuff and not also looking at the bottom line…..which is the results. Sabathia pitching on a bum knee had a better season in 2011 than he had in 2010…..and he was darn good in both and worth every dime they paid him.

  52. P February 19th, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Blake:

    “that article is ridiculous”

    Enough said.

  53. Tar February 19th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Kate I didn’t watch the ‘cuse game, but after reading the recap we can definitely sympathize.

    It shouldn’t have been that hard.

    Blake
    I will say this for the Heels, thier interior defense is intense and seems to get better every game. But they really need somebody to step up and hit some jump shots.

  54. SAS February 19th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Bojo,

    I live near Conyer’s Farm. A small part of it is in NY. I live in that town, but not in any mansion….lol.

  55. Doreen February 19th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    pat -

    Thanks for the update on Sanchez.

    ****

    Cano is just as good as a switch hitter; he handles righties and lefties pretty good, no?

  56. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Tar,

    That’s true. Henson is developing into a force defensively and Zeller is much stronger this.season…..but you’re right they someone to score the ball. Hopefully Barnes will continue to.progress and be that guy before its over…..he already has.been when they need him.

  57. Pat M. February 19th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    WCYF……This guy should go the park and watch him pitch rather than playing with his flow charts and colored graphs….Moron, yeah I’m certain that Boston would love to see CC leave so they could him a wicked amount of cash…..Then Mr. Cameron would tell us how great a signing it was…….This guy should stick to being a reserve right fielder on his Coed slow pitch softball team….

  58. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    The Yankees wouldn’t have made the playoffs last year without CC……and wouldn’t have won the WS without him in 2009.

  59. West Coast Yankee Fan February 19th, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I agree completely. I think FanGraphs and the entire stat crowd takes things way too far.

  60. West Coast Yankee Fan February 19th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I do wonder how much attention Cashman and his staff pay to such things though and how they factor it into future business assessments on players.

  61. kd February 19th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    if the yankees are healthy in 2011, they win the al east. bottom line.

  62. Crawdaddy February 19th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Bill Madden has made some valid points in the past about the Yankees inability to develop pitching. However, I think the Yankees are making great strides in addressing that weakness and his most recent article about ManBan and Betances is offbase. First off, those three Giant pitchers all had at least one season in which they were close to 150 innings before making their ML debut. Lincecum was a college pitcher that pitched over 100 innings each year which doesn’t count his NCAA tournament or international competition innings. Cain had two straight minor league seasons of 150 innings before making his ML debut. Bumgarner also had similar numbers in his brief two years of minor league pitching before splitting time with the minors and majors last year. By the way, Cain and Lincecum were top ten picks while Cain was chosen in the 1st round too.

    Betances has suffered a couple of injuries so his innings high is around 121 while ManBan is even less than that number. Both of them have a need to improve their skill level before making their way to the major leagues and they need to stay healthy so they get their innings high for one season up to the 140-150 area. If everything goes well for them in 2011 then 2012 is their year to make it to the show despite what Madden has to say on the matter.

    IMO, Madden is no longer a top baseball writer. Hell, Jack Curry can write circles around him today and he retired from the Times.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....t_yan.html

  63. Crawdaddy February 19th, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I meant to say Bumgarner was a top ten pick not Cain.

  64. blake February 19th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    The Yankees have a tough time developing Madison Bumgardners because they don’t get to pick 8th i’m the draft……but despite that they have a top 5 pitching prospect now and just had another one in Hughes.

  65. blake February 19th, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Speaking of Bumgardner, I saw a kid last year and hope to this year as well that is better than he was in high school (Daniel Norris). I wish he’d fall to the Yankees but I doubt he will. He’s committed to Clemson but if teams shy away from him thinking he’ll go to college then maybe….here is a quote from a Q and A he did recently:

    Kevin Levine-Flandrup: Are the Yankees one of the teams you’ve met with?

    Daniel Norris: Yes, sir. About a month ago I sat down with the area scout, and he was a really good guy. You get different feels from different teams, and I’m honestly not just saying this, but I got a good vibe from them. He was just a really personable, laid-back guy. One thing I took away from the meeting was that a lot of people talk about the minor leagues not being about winning really, but with the Yankees they win in the minors and that focus on winning goes all the way up to the Majors.

  66. tyanksfan36 February 19th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    My friend sent me this picture from fanfest today of John Jaso, I wonder how she knew I loved catchers.

    http://m.flickr.com/photo.gne?.....6&

  67. 4 NYY February 19th, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I thought all last year that Tex just needs to stay on the ball longer and not try to pull so much from both sides of plate. It would help keep him from chasing bad pitches so much and get his avg up and be even more productive.

    I would hit him 6th at least until he is hitting well.


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