Joe Girardi’s postgame press conference was basically a medical report, so it seemed fitting that the hero of the night was a guy who could hardly speak without coughing. Mark Teixeira has suffered through bad numbers and bad health this season, and it’s hard to say how much of the first has to do with the second.
Tonight, though, it was Teixeira’s seventh-inning home run that broke a tie and propelled the Yankees to a win. His double two innings later led to an insurance run.
“I hope that helps put me on a roll,” he said. “I hope I start feeling a lot better and can put together a string of some good games, because I know I’m capable of a lot more.”
Teixeira has gotten off to a slow start every year he’s been with the Yankees. Even in 2009, when he finished the season as an MVP candidate, Teixeira was hitting .203 with seven home runs and 19 RBI through May 14. This year he’s hitting .231 with five homers and 19 RBI (with a much lower on-base percentage and slugging percentage than three years ago). Last night he was the goat with a bases-loaded strikeout. Tonight he was the hero with a two-run homer.
“I’ve just been trying to grind it out, trying to have good at-bats, trying to hit the ball hard and play good defense,” Teixeira said. “When you’re feeling good, this game is still hard. Still really hard. When things aren’t going your way, you have to just keep fighting. Hopefully things turn around, and tonight was a good night for me and for the team.”
Girardi’s made it clear that Teixeira’s spot in the middle of the order is secure. It’s up to Teixeira to become productive and consistent again. He’s clearly not healthy — you can hear it in his voice and see it when he has a coughing fit — but Teixeira insists he’s healthy enough to be productive.
“You’re always playing through something,” Teixeira said. “So if you took a day off every time you didn’t feel right, you’d be taking a lot of days off. I’m trying to grind through it, because I know I can always help the team defensively, I can always put together a good at-bat, draw a walk, get a big hit. The numbers are not very good right now, but I’m still trying to help the team win every night.”
• Being hit by the comebacker wasn’t a big deal for Ivan Nova. The real pain happened when he jumped a little bit to field that chopper in the sixth inning. He wound up twisting his ankle was diagnosed with a spring. X-rays came back negative, but Girardi acknowledged that it’s possible Nova will have to miss a start. “It feels really bad right now,” Nova said. “That’s really how I feel. I hope tomorrow it feels better.”
• Dave Robertson hasn’t been available since feeling some discomfort in his left side on Friday. The pain is around his ribcage. He’s been playing catch, but he’s stopped lifting in hopes that it will go away. When he still felt it playing catch today, the Yankees decided to make Rafael Soriano their closer for the night. Turns out, it was the third straight day Robertson wasn’t available. Robertson expects to go for tests on Tuesday. “I’m not really concerned,” he said. “I would like to get back out there as soon as I can, but I don’t want to go out there and take a risk, end up putting myself on the DL for a long period of time. There’s a little worry, but I honestly don’t think it’s too bad.”
• Here’s Robertson describing the injury: “It’s just in my left side. I finished the game the other day, came in and it was a little sore. I didn’t really notice it, but the next day I came in and it was sore again. I said something about it. I got some ice after the game for it the first time, then the next day just tried to keep an eye on it. I was hoping it was one of those things that would go away real quick, but it just keeps hanging around. They’re trying to give me a few days.”
• Raul Ibanez has a nasty mark on his right elbow — maybe the most clear seam imprint I’ve ever seen — but he shrugged off the injury saying he should be available tomorrow if necessary. “Yeah,” he said. “I think so. Sure.” He really seemed to think it was no big deal, despite the absurd mark left by the HBP.
• Clay Rapada is sick, and Girardi said it’s the same cold that hit a few players this season. “We’ll see if he’s physically available tomorrow,” Girardi said.
• David Phelps got his first career win. Soriano gave him the ball that was used for the final out and Girardi gave him the lineup card. Phelps also has the ball from his first career strikeout earlier this season.
• Girardi said he’s not thinking about saving Phelps for a possible spot-start in Nova’s place next time around. “I don’t think I can worry about that,” Giradi said. “I think I gotta worry about trying to win the games up until that point.”
• Curtis Granderson hit his 12th home run of the season and made a nice running catch in center field. Granderson’s home run landed on Eutaw Street beyond right field. It was the 61st home run to ever get there in Camden Yards history. Nick Swisher did it last year.
• Orioles starter Jason Hammel hadn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his previous six starts this season. The Yankees scored five off him, four earned.
• Alex Rodriguez had hit third three-hit game of the season. He tied Craig Biggio for 12th place on baseball’s all-time runs scored list.
• David Aardsma tweeted today that he threw a 35-pitch bullpen that included sliders for the first time since last year’s Tommy John surgery. Late last week, Brian Cashman said the Yankees are still focused on Aardsma as a potential impact player for next season, and getting him back this year would be a bonus.
• Finally, all of you Rangers fans out there — and Devils fans, for that matter — be sure to check out Rick Carpiniello blog here at LoHud. It’s very safe to say that Carp knows more about hockey than I do.
Associated Press photos