Long before tonight, the Yankees were well aware that Mark Teixeira’s right wrist was not 100 percent. Tonight’s game was not necessarily a physical breaking point, more of a personal breaking point. Teixeira finally acknowledged that he was not able to hit well enough to help the team.
“I don’t know that it’s been right since he’s been here, honestly,” hitting coach Kevin Long. “A big part of his routine is doing tee work, and he hasn’t been able to do that. It definitely affects him from the left side, not the right side. The right side is fine, but the left-handed part where you kind of go like that (bending at the wrist) in the last minute, he’s not able to execute.
“At this point, he’s going to play and do what he thinks he’s capable of doing to help the team. When he feels like that part of it doesn’t get him far enough and doesn’t get him to where he’s able to help the team, he’s going to say something. He did today. … He had a couple pitches where he was like, ‘I should crush those balls, but I’m not able to take my A-swing.’ He said at that point he should probably come out of the game and reevaluate what’s happening.”
It was just a few days ago that Teixeira said he felt good and thought his at-bats were getting better, but his switch-hitting numbers told a worrisome story: Teixeira was hitting .278 from the right side – the swing that primarily uses his uninjured left wrist – but only .086 as a left-handed hitter. Long acknowledged that, from the left side, Teixeira has been a “shell of who he is.”
“It’s the first time he’s came to us really and said (anything),” Joe Girardi said. “I think he just doesn’t feel that he has the whip that he normal has hitting left handed.”
It struck me — and everyone, I think — as fairly surprising that Teixeira has been playing this long without being able to go through his normal pregame tee work. Long said Teixeira tried to do left-handed tee work a few times, “but that’s when he feels it the most.”
“These guys are used to their routines, and he’s been doing the same thing for years,” Long said. “When he’s not able to execute that and swing the bat the way he’s capable of, it’s going to affect him. It’s going to affect him mentally, it’s going to affect him physically. … Tex is tough. He’ll play through a lot. At this point, it’s better that he gets it checked out and kind of see if there’s a better solution. I don’t know, maybe there’s not. Maybe this is where he’s at with it. That’s up to the doctors’ evaluations, so we’ll see what they say and move forward from there.”
The line of the night might have come from Lyle Overbay, and he was technically misspeaking when he said it.
“I hope it’s not as bad as it is,” Overbay said.
• The Yankees struck out 14 times. That’s the second-most strikeouts for the Angels in a nine-inning game against the Yankees (15 on May 23, 1995). Angels starter Tommy Hanson had eight strikeouts, a season high. He’s the third pitcher in the last 20 years to get a win in each of his first three career games against the Yankees (Max Scherzer, Ervin Santana).
• This is the Yankees second five-game losing streak in three weeks. It’s only the second time since 2000 that they’ve had two five-game losing streaks in the same season. It also happened in 2007.
• Tonight’s low point probably came in the seventh when Ichiro Suzuki and stole second and third. With a runner at third, no outs and trailing by only one run, the Yankees failed to score. The bottom of the order struck out in order.
• Girardi said he didn’t consider squeezing with Reid Brignac in that situation. “We’ve had one bunt with him and…” Girardi didn’t finish that thought. Didn’t really have to.
• The Yankees had five hits, and it’s little surprise that they came from Ichiro (2), Brett Gardner, Chris Stewart and Jayson Nix. In fact, Long took great exception when someone began a question with the premise that the “whole lineup” is struggling. “Stop with the whole lineup,” Long said. “Brett Gardner? No. Ichiro? No. When you say the whole lineup, that’s not fair. That’s not fair to the Gardners; it’s not fair to the Ichiros; it’s not fair to the Stewarts. It’s not fair to guys that are going out there and competing on a daily basis. When you say stuff like that, that’s not right. When you say, ‘OK, there are some guys in the middle of the order that have struggled,’ sure, I would say you’re right. We need those guys to get better. We need them to do better and we’re going to do better.”
• Once again, a Yankees pitcher blamed himself for a loss. “It’s one of the worst jobs that I’ve done all year at managing a baseball game,” David Phelps said. “You look back at the seven innings I pitched and I had five leadoff hits or walks. I just didn’t pitch well today. I was fortunate they made some plays behind me, got some big double plays. They gave me a lead and I gave it right back. I had a chance to go out and pitch the seventh, two pitches and I give up a hit. That’s just not going to get the job done.”
• Nine hits were a career-high for Phelps. He held the Angels to only three hits in 25 at-bats last season. … Mike Trout became the first player to steal a base off Phelps this season (opponents were 0-for-3).
• Phelps explaining the play when he looked to third before throwing to second on a comebacker. The Yankees ultimately weren’t able to turn two and the lead runner eventually scored. “Ball back to you on the mound, runners at first and second, you go to second 100 percent of the time,” Phelps said. “We never work on going to third. I don’t know why I looked at third. That’s the play we’re trying to make is to second base to get the double play.”
• Girardi stopped well short of blaming the pitching for this one. “I thought (Phelps) was pretty good,” he said. “They scored some single runs on him. He didn’t give up the big inning. Pitched out of some jams. But we’re not scoring a lot of runs right now, so it’s tough.”
What did third-base umpire Manny Gonzalez say about Ichiro being called out on a stolen base attempt in the fourth? “He said he got the tag down quick enough,” Girardi said. Was Gonzalez yelling at Girardi as he walked off the field? “Maybe,” Girardi said. “I yelled at him. All’s fair.”
• Final word goes to Girardi, who acknowledged he had been worried about Teixeira ever since he came off the DL. Was Girardi holding his breath with every swing? “No. I don’t know if I’m doing that,” he said. “But I just know what (Jose) Bautista went through where he was able to rehab and get back. Then he took that one swing and he went back to, really, square one in a sense. I don’t think Tex is there. I don’t think he (went) back to when he hurt it in March, but he’ll see Dr. Ahmad and evaluate it.”
Associated Press photos