ARLINGTON, Texas — Since losing Mark Teixeira to a strained left lat muscle, the Yankees were 4-3 without the switch-hitting first baseman entering Monday night’s game against the Rangers at Globe Life Park.
But after a pinch-hit single Monday night in the from the first baseman, the Yankees likely will be seeing a familiar name back in the lineup Tuesday.
“If all goes well, hopefully I’ll play Tuesday,’’ Teixeira said before the 4-2 loss to the Rangers. “[Trainer] Steve Donohue wants to make sure I respond well after two days of hitting in a row. Hopefully, if that’s the case I’ll be in there [Tuesday].’’
Teixeira did tee-and-toss Sunday in the indoor cage at Yankee Stadium. He was set to repeat that Monday and then take live batting practice for the first time since the injury, which he said had been bothering him since mid-June. Prior to Monday, Teixeira’s last game played had been July 20 against the Reds, when he experienced back spasms.
“I feel better now than I have in a month,’’ Teixeira said. “That’s a good sign.’’
Kelly Johnson replaced Teixeira at first on July 21 but suffered a groin injury the next night when he was in right field, and went on the disabled list the next day. So, Brian McCann has played first base in six straight games. Outside of one poor decision Saturday on a ground ball, the catcher hasn’t hurt the Yankees at first. Yet, it goes without saying what getting Teixeira back means to the Yankees’ chances of getting into the postseason. They started Monday night’s action four games behind the AL East-leading Orioles.
“That’s a big bat and you have to play people out of position,’’ manager Joe Girardi said of Teixeira, who had been hitless in his last 13 at-bats before the single, and has hit two homers this month — in the same game, July 9 game at Cleveland. “We did OK in his absence but I sure would like to have him. It’s another power switch hitter and an outstanding first baseman. It’s a much different club.’’
After missing all but 15 games last year due to a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist that required surgery, this season has been about nagging injuries for Teixeira. He was on the DL from April 5-20 with a strained right adductor muscle and missed three games in late May with a sore right wrist that required a cortisone shot. In mid-June he was out a game because of a left oblique injury and missed another in late July with a left knee problem.
“It’s been frustrating. I knew it was going to be a little bit a challenge coming back from the wrist. I wasn’t expecting the annoying things that come up,’’ said the 34-year-old Teixeira, who played in at least 145 games eight times from 2003 to 2011 and all 162 games in 2005 and 2006 with the Rangers. “That’s part of the game. Hopefully this is it and I can have two healthy months, but missing a couple of games here and a couple games there is never fun.’’
As Teixeira ages, he has found out injuries are no longer something he can gut out.
“I was injured plenty, I played through it,” he said. “I had major ankle surgery in college and a major quad tear in (2007) with Texas, knee surgery in ’07 and hurt my wrist in ’09.
“I played through so many things I can’t play through anymore. I don’t think I would have had to miss games with back spasms, the games with the tweak of my hamstring earlier in the season. Now, I can’t get through those things anymore. Father Time is undefeated.’’