For two years Mark Teixeira has talked about defensive shifts, a diminished batting average and offensive cold streaks. This spring, he talked about possibly bunting a little more and going the other way.
Last night, though, he said this: “(I’m) trying to be a little more aggressive at the plate. We talked about that the other day, just swinging hard and not worrying about trying to guide the ball anywhere. I’m letting it go, got a good one up in the zone tonight and that home run was big for us and big for me.”
Even with a diminished batting average, Teixeira has remained a productive hitter the past two years. This season, he tried to raise his batting average, and in the process he stopped driving the ball and lost his productivity. The Yankees prefer this back-to-basics approach.
“I think as a player you try to make adjustments and you have to see how adjustments go at times,” Joe Girardi said. “Sometimes it can be too far away from what you really do, and sometimes there’s a happy medium, and sometimes there isn’t, and he’s been a guy that’s pulled a lot in his career. I look back at 2007 — you see tape — and they had a shift on him at that time, before shifts were really popular. That’s who he is, that’s part of his DNA and that’s what he probably needs to do.”
If Teixiera does that, Girardi believes his average will climb in the process.
“If he hits .270 and has 35 (homers), 115 (RBI) are we going to complain? No way,” Girardi said. “I’ll be thrilled to death with that. I believe he’s going to be very productive for us. That’s the most important thing.”
• The Yankees have terrific career numbers against Bartolo Colon, and they’ve familiar with him after last season. “I don’t know if it’s an advantage when Bart’s spotting his fastball,” Girardi said. “That’s the key. If he’s spotting it really well, you know he’s really tough. You know you’re going to see about 90 percent fastballs, so you can prepare for it, but it all depends on how it’s moving and his location.”
• Girardi said there were no health issues with Nova after last night’s start.
• Another outfield start for Raul Ibanez, who’s played the field much more than the Yankees expected this season. But Girardi said there are minimal concerns about him wearing down physically. “I think he’s doing great,” Girardi said. “He’s in tremendous shape.”
• Nothing new on Dave Robertson or Brett Gardner. Both are still expected to take their next steps on Monday, with Robertson playing catch and Gardner taking some swings down in Tampa.
• This was one of the most uninformative pregame sessions I can remember. At one point, Girardi literally told the beat writers a story about a train derailing near his family’s farm when he was a kid. Apparently one of the train cars was filled with Cap’n Crunch, and Girardi ate that cereal for more than a year. “To this day, I still like Cap’n Crunch,” he said. Seriously, Girardi talked about cereal for about five minutes today. These things happen before day games in Oakland.
Associated Press photos