Mark Teixeira‘s injury history has gotten pretty spotty over the last few years. From hamstrings to groins to wrists, nothing has gone smoothly for Tex. Last year, the wheels nearly fell off, as Mark missed all but 15 games due to a torn tendon sheath in his wrist. Considering he’d only played 123 games in 2012, I think we all thought this was going to be Mark’s career from now on. When he strained his groin and missed two weeks in April, I was thinking “welp, another Giambi contract.” Since his return, however, he has shut me up completely.
When the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira before the 2009 season, they thought they’d be getting a guy that could hit .300 with 35-40 home runs and well over 100 RBI every year for at least most of the duration of the eight year deal. Like many things, it hasn’t fully worked out the way they hoped back then. Teixeira had an MVP caliber season and helped the Yanks win the 2009 World Series, but his performance dropped almost immediately. You can blame the rise of defensive shifts, age or injury, but Tex hasn’t sniffed even .260 since his .292 season in 2009. He managed to hit 30+ homers for two years after 2009, but hit only 24 in 2012 and 3 in 2013.
When you keep in mind that he says his wrist still isn’t fully healed, the fact that he’s hit 9 homers this year has come as a real surprise. Even more impressive, is the fact that all 9 have come in the last 22 games, since he came back from the groin strain. Not only is he hitting home runs, he’s hitting important home runs and getting important hits, often either to tie games late, extend precarious leads or kick off scoring for the club. Overall since coming off the DL, Tex is hitting .267/.377/.589 with 2 doubles, 9 homers and 20 RBI, helping to carry the offense over the last few weeks and helping the Yankees stay in first place contention.
One noticable difference in his at bats is the way he’s standing at the plate. After working with Kevin Long, Tex made an adjustment similar to the one Curtis Granderson made back in 2010 before he became a 40+ home run guy. He’s standing a bit straighter, and his front leg is a little more closed off, and the results, so far at least, have been quite encouraging. K-Long strikes again.
Will Tex stay healthy for the whole year and get back to his 30+ home run and 100+ RBI ways of the past? That’s literally impossible to predict. He might walk off the field tomorrow with a re-torn wrist, or even a leg injury of some kind (Girardi has had to rest him for leg soreness once already this year). He might hit the skids on his own, without injury.
Featured image courtesy of: Robert Sabo/New York Daily News
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