Mark Teixeira is a home run hitter with a problem. His batting average is sinking, and the aggressive defensive shift used by opposing teams is giving him problems left-handed.
“I might lay down some bunts this year,” Teixeira said before last night’s Thurman Munson dinner. “I’ve been so against it my entire career. But I might lay down a few bunts. If I can beat the shift that way, that’s important.”
Teixeira hit just .224/.325/.453 as a lefty last season. He hit 24 home runs left handed, but all-around consistency that made him such a dynamic hitter two years ago was missing, and it’s been missing for two years now (from the left side).
“Obviously I’d love to bring my average up and it’s very simple, left-handed singles,” Teixeira said.
Of course, I don’t think Teixeira is going to try to become Juan Pierre from the left side, but since the end of last season he’s said that his left-handed approach is something that needs a change. He said he’s talked to Kevin Long about squaring up his stance a little bit, and he’s thought about becoming more willing to take an opposite field single rather than trying to always pull extra-base hits.
“I have to adapt,” Teixeira said. “I’ve been frustrated the last few years, because those balls haven’t been falling in. Finally I’ve kind of given in, and I’m going to hopefully start using that side a little more.”
I couldn’t get to the Munson dinner, but MLB.com has some videos of Teixiera at the event.
Associated Press photo