Mark Teixeira wouldn’t really go into detail, but then again, maybe it was worrying about the details that got him into trouble in the first place. What he said this afternoon about his brutal start to the season was that “enough people tell you to try to do things, and you do them.” He said he tried to change his approach, tried to become something he’s not, and it was only after sitting out those three games last weekend that he decided to just be himself.
The results have been instant.
“Some guys can sort of shorten their swing up and slap it the other way, use their speed,” Teixeira said. “It’s obviously not me. I’ve been a guy that’s always hit a lot of fly balls, a lot of long fly balls, home runs. I’ve tried to change a few times and it hasn’t worked. … You can try to tinker with things, but I am who I am. I wouldn’t know how to explain what kind of hitter I am, I just go up there, see the ball and try to hit it really hard.”
Who tried to make him change that approach?
“It doesn’t matter,” Teixeira said. “Kevin (Long) and I, we love working together, and he’s always had 100 percent faith in me. We always talk about just being positive. He’s always told me, ‘Whatever you want me to do, we’ll try it. We’ll work on it.’ But after anything that we try, any new drill that we do, he’s always like, ‘Be who you are. Take your A swing.’ That’s what I need to start doing again.”
In other words: Remember all of that spring training talk about going the other way, beating the shift, and maybe even dropping a few bunts? Forget about that. It’s not what made Teixeira one of the game’s best all-around hitters three years ago, and he’s decided it’s not going to make him a better hitter today. If his batting average suffers, he’s OK with it. Joe Girardi said the same thing this morning.
With that new approach — same as his old approach — Teixeira had four hits, two home runs and five RBI this afternoon. Since sitting out those three games and moving back into the lineup on Monday, Teixeira has homered three times, doubled twice collected eight hits and driven in eight runs.
“I told you guys a couple of days ago what I was going to do, and I’ve been doing it,” Teixeira said. “I’m glad I’m seeing some results, because (if not) then you’d probably be asking me, what’s my next plan? Just being real aggressive with my swings. Trying to let it go, which I’ve done my whole career.”
• Pitching just a few miles from where he grew up, CC Sabathia paid for 200 tickets to today’s game. His cheering section was in right field, and they watched him settle in after allowing two runs and seven base runners in the first three innings. “Just trying to make sure I stayed behind the ball,” Sabathia said. “Command got a little off and fastball command wasn’t there, so I was just trying to make some pitches and stay behind the ball. I was able to get it back later in the game.”
• Larry Rothschild helped Sabathia figure out his mechanical flaw, but Chris Stewart noticed it too. “It’s just something that Larry says, (and) Stew said something,” Sabathia said. “Just making sure I was on top of the ball and not cutting the ball. Early in the game, everything was cutting back over the plate and I gave up some hits.”
• In his last four innings, Sabathia gave up two hits and didn’t allow a runner past first base.
• Sabathia is 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA in five starts this month. He was 3-0 but had a 4.58 ERA in five starts last month.
• Teixeira isn’t the only middle-of-the-order hitter who’s been hot lately. Robinson Cano has homered in back-to-back games and has three homers in his past four games. He’s hitting .352 with six home runs in his past 23 games. “You don’t want just a few guys,” Cano said. “You want the whole team to get going.”
• Derek Jeter was one of five Yankees with at least two hits in the game. He moved into a tie with George Brett for 14th on baseball’s all-time hits list. Jeter has 3,154 hits, and next on the list is Cal Ripken Jr.
• Pretty good defensive day for Jeter as well. “CC was getting ground balls,” Girardi said. “That was the important thing. He wasn’t giving up balls in the gap or long fly balls. He was giving up ground balls, and Jeet was able to get to some of them.”
• The Yankees were able to beat their old teammate Bartolo Colon, who gave up six runs on nine hits through six innings. “We all know he throws a lot of fastballs,” Cano said. “So you want to be able to not miss a pitch when he throws it over the plate.”
Associated Press photos