The Yankees were in Oakland way back in early June. That’s when Mark Teixeira’s back trouble began. The spasms, he said, ranged from his neck to his lower back, and so the Yankees “put the fires out” as they presented themselves, but because the spasms were never concentrated in a single spot, Teixeira said the team never felt the need to do an MRI. Spasms happen from tiem to time, and Teixeira was able to play through it.
It was actually the All-Star break that made things worse, or at least made the problem more concentrated.
“That’s kind of what happens when you shut down for a little while,” Teixeira said. “The blood’s not flowing, you don’t have that adrenaline pumping through your body and it becomes worse. I think that’s what we saw this weekend. … When the pain ratcheted up, it was one spot. I could tell Doc, ‘Listen Doc, this spot’s killing me. Let’s take a look at it.’ That’s when we found the strain.”
The lat strain is a mild Grade 1, and Teixeira will receive a PRP injection later today. Joe Girardi said he expects to give Teixeira three or four days off — with treatment this time, so not the same as the four-day All-Star break — and if that works, Teixeira will avoid the disabled list and return to the lineup in time for the upcoming weekend series against Toronto.
Although the strain is on the left side, Teixeira said it affects him swinging both left-handed and right-handed. It also bothers him when he throws.
It’s worth noting — though I doubt you’ve forgotten — that this is just the latest in a series of health problems for Teixiera this season. He went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, but he’s also missed time with back, wrist, knee and groin/fatigue issues.
“I thought the year off last year would kind of give me a fountain of youth,” Teixeira said. “And it’s just made me rusty. I’ve used that word a few times this year; that’s the way it feels. It’s been something. Every game, it’s something. I was dealing with the hamstring early, the knee, back — it’s really frustrating — not to mention the wrist, which is obviously something I’ve been dealing with. That’s life. You have to grind through things. I’ve been grinding pretty well all season. I’m still happy with the way I’ve played when I’m healthy. I just need to get healthy again.”
• With Teixeira out, why give Brian McCann a day off as well? It’s a combination of needing to give him a day off at some point — Yankees are playing 13 days in a row — and also wanting to keep Shane Greene with Francisco Cervelli, who caught each of Greene’s first two big league starts. “Cervy and Greenie have had a good little mixture going,” Girardi said. “So I figured today was a day that I’d give (McCann) off.”
• Could McCann become an option at first base while Teixeira is out? “It could be a number of people,” Girardi said. “But, yes, I would not be afraid to put him there.”
• How concerned are the Yankees that Teixeira will eventually need a DL stint because of the lat injury? “I think if we were concerned, really concerned, we’d put him on the DL right away,” Girardi said. “We’re hoping that after three or four days he feels OK and we’ll get him back in there.”
• It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating that the Yankees have played a ton of games started by rookie pitcher this season. Tonight will be their 46th game with a rookie starter. No other team has had more than 23 such games. “I don’t think you ever expect that because when we started the season, we had veteran starters,” Girardi said. “So you weren’t expecting it, but it happens. And it’s an opportunity for (Shane Greene) to shine, to prove, you know what, I do belong here, and I do belong in the New York Yankees plans as a starter here and I can help this team win. So I think it’s a great opportunity for him.”
• This will be Greene’s first career appearance at Yankee Stadium. His debut was a relief appearance in Boston, and his two starts have come come in Cleveland and Baltimore.
• In the first three games after the break, the Yankees got strong starts out of David Phelps, Brandon McCarthy and Hiroki Kuroda. Tonight they’ll ask Greene to continue that trend. “They’ve been aggressive,” Girardi said. “They have not beat themselves. That have not walked people. They have just thrown the ball extremely well.”
Associated Press photos