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Plenty of questions, few answers in the wake of Teixeira’s injury

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Here’s my best attempt to answer some of the obvious questions about the Mark Teixeira injury.

Strained tendon? Isn’t that the Jose Bautista injury?
In short, yes. Cashman said as much: “(Dr. Ahmad) said it’s a common injury,” Cashman said. “It happens a lot with hitters. It’s the same one Bautista had last year. Well, similar. I can’t tell you it’s the same because I don’t know the severity. Bautista’s might have been a lot worse, but that’s what Bautista had at Yankee Stadium last year.”

Bautista eventually had season-ending surgery. So far, there are no plans for Teixeira to have surgery. Cashman said he was told that a full four-weeks of rest is the way to go. It’s worth noting that Bautista rested for only 12 days [3] before trying to play again, and after a series of setbacks, he eventually had surgery. Obviously, the Yankees are trying to avoid that.

Don’t the Yankees have to trade for someone at this point?
The middle of the order has taken a massive hit in the past 10 days, and Cashman said he’ll keep looking for “casualties from other camps.” But it’s also early March, and the pool of available players isn’t usually encouraging during spring training. Teams have made their offseason moves — or non-moves — for a reason.

“It’s kind of like a baby pool,” Cashman said. “A lot of kids pee in it. … It’s not the time of year to try to make any moves. Usually movement takes place after the draft unless people are trying to cut garbage.”

How are the Yankees going to replace these home runs?
I have no idea. Absolutely no idea. Last year’s Yankees included 10 players who hit double-digit home runs. Only one of them — one! — is still healthy, still playing in games and still on the Yankees roster. Here’s the list: Curtis Granderson (broken forearm), Robinson Cano (healthy and active), Mark Teixeira (strained wrist), Nick Swisher (Cleveland), Russell Martin (Pittsburgh), Raul Ibanez (Seattle), Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery), Eric Chavez (Arizona), Derek Jeter (rehabbing ankle), Andruw Jones (Japan).

Why not put Kevin Youkilis at first base?
He did win a Gold Glove over there in 2007, but the down side is probably obvious. Moving Youkilis only opens a hole at third base. “First is always an easier position to fill than third,” Cashman said.

Basically, the Yankees could either try Eduardo Nunez at third base, play Jayson Nix regularly at third base, or go with either Dan Johnson or Juan Rivera at first base. I guess there are other internal options — maybe Ronnier Mustelier at third, Luke Murton at first — but those seem to be at the top of the list if you’re looking internally. Clearly, Youkilis could shift to first if the Yankees happen to find a third baseman.

“I’m not dismissing,” Joe Girardi said. “But it’s kind of like the Ichiro/Gardy thing. Depending on who we break with, depends on where Youk could possibly go.”

Break glass in emergency: Why not Travis Hafner?
Injuries are already piling up, and the Yankees don’t want to take the change of another one. Especially now that Hafner’s bat is more important than ever.

“He’s a field goal kicker,” Cashman said. “I know what I’ve got and I want him to be that. He hasn’t picked up a glove in seven years. I’m not making fun of him; he’s just someone that is an amazing hitter, but he has a history of injuries. We’re not going to put him in a position by trying to put a glove on him and getting him hurt. He’s our DH.”

Or, as Girardi put it: “He said he has a glove, and anyone’s welcome to use it.”

What does the middle of the order look like now?
Can’t predict the top of the order without knowing Derek Jeter’s status, now it’s hard to imagine the middle of the order without Teixeira or Granderson. The Yankees got the news of Teixeira’s injury literally minutes before the end of today’s game, so it may take a while before they have a good idea of how things line up.

“I’m not sure,” Girardi said. “It changes it. Two of the guys you expected to hit in the middle won’t be there opening day. We’ll put it together. Three and a half weeks to decide.”

Associated Press photo