Joe Girardi’s been hesitant to make this change, and when he decided the time had finally come, he talked it over with Mark Teixeira.
“He’s been the focus of our lineup and if the other guys were hitting, he probably wouldn’t be a focus,” Girardi said. “I mean, there’s a lot of other guys who are struggling in those situations, some worse than he is. And so I just thought, he hasn’t played in three days. I’m going to move him down and see what happens.”
As Girardi explained it, Teixeira wasn’t thrilled, but he understood. When he met with the media, Teixeira seemed to have no problem with the decision.
“Everyone knows I’m not 100 percent,” Teixeira said. “I’ve just been really trying to grind it the last, well, really the whole season basically. It just makes you appreciate when you are healthy. I’d love to be able to say that I’m 100 percent and strong, but I haven’t been driving the ball like I should be this year. It’s been a rough go. It really doesn’t matter where I hit, anyway.”
After changing his diet the winter, Teixeira arrived in spring training convinced he was in the best shape of his career and in for a huge season. He said that’s part of what’s made this so frustrating — he got sick early, the cough has lingered, and he hasn’t felt like himself since that first week of the season. He acknowledges that the numbers aren’t good, and he recognizes that it’s been more than a week or two.
He doesn’t expect to be pitched any differently now that he’s hitting at the bottom of the order.
“I’m still Mark Teixeira,” he said. “I’ve still put up some pretty good numbers in my career, so I don’t think they’re going to just start under-handing it to me. I wish they would, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Girardi indicated that the move might not last long if Teixeira gets his season turned around quickly.
“I said, ‘My goal is to get you back to where you belong,’” Girardi said. “Just (moving him down) to maybe get him going a little bit.”
• Girardi said Dave Robertson will likely join Brett Gardner in Tampa on Thursday. The Yankees are hopeful that Gardner will begin swinging and Robertson will begin throwing soon after arriving in Florida. Robertson is eligible to come off the disabled list either Sunday or Monday — don’t remember which — but that won’t happen.
• Gardner is expected to have an MRI either tomorrow or Wednesday to make sure there’s no damage still in his elbow. “I think we’ve missed Gardy,” Girardi said. “I think you can see the value of Gardy a little bit more now that we haven’t had him. Hopefully he is turning the corner with that elbow.”
• Eduardo Nunez has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list with a thumb injury. Manny Banuelos has also been placed on the Triple-A DL, but I haven’t heard a reason yet.
• Girardi said some of the decision to drop Teixeira had to do with the recent production from Raul Ibanez. “You could argue he’s been our most productive hitter with runners on,” Girardi said. “I’ve liked what he’s done and I just felt I would leave him there for now. We can evaluate it every day or every week, or however we want to do it, but Ibanez has been pretty good.”
• The tarp is still on the field, but the players are starting to throw in the outfield to get loose. Girardi said he expects to play tonight, and it does seem like the rain has stopped.
Associated Press photo