Results tagged ‘ Mark Teixeira ’
For the first time in nearly a week, the Yankees gained ground in the American League Wild Card race. After spending four games in Boston giving up leads in getting swept by the Red Sox, the Yankees did the opposite Tuesday night by overcoming a 2-0 deficit and beat the Rays, 5-3, to end a five-game losing streak.
It would have been a tough no-decision if that Tampa Bay lead held up for Yankees starter Michael Pineda, who struck out 11 batters and walked only one in 5 1/3 innings. But the two-out jinx struck him again when he gave up a two-rub triple to Brad Miller in the third. Pineda now has 195 strikeouts, the most for a Yanks righthander since A.J. Burnett had the same total in 2009.
Mark Teixeira got a run back the next inning with his 13th home run, off Rays starter Drew Smyly, the only run the lefthander gave up in six innings. Fortunately for the Yankees, the Rays are like every team in the major leagues these days who cannot wait to take out a starting pitcher in the middle innings. Tampa Bay went with Brad Boxberger in the seventh, and the Yanks clocked him for four runs and four hits.
The big blow came from — who else? — Gary Sanchez. One out after Brett Gardner singled to tie the score, Sanchez crushed a first-pitch changeup for a three-run home run. It came right after Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey came to the mound to discuss the situation with Boxberger. First base was open so surely the message was not to give Sanchez anything near the plate, a message that obviously went unheeded.
It was the 17th home run of the season for the Yankees’ rookie catcher and came in his 44th game. The only other rookie in big-league history to do that was Wally Berger of the Boston Braves in 1930. Sanchez has six home runs in his past 11 games after a 10-game homerless drought. Of his 53 career hits, 28 have been for extra bases (11 doubles, 17 homers), including eight of his past 13 hits (two doubles, six homers).
The winning decision went to Luis Severino (3-8), who kept up his quality pitching in relief with 1 1/3 hitless innings. Tyler Clippard allowed a run in the eighth on a triple by Logan Forsythe and a wild pitch.
Dellin Betances, who had not pitched since Thursday night after sustaining two straight losses, hopped back on the bicycle and fashioned a clean ninth inning for his 12th save.
With the victory, the Yankees picked up a game on the Orioles, who lost at home to the Red Sox, and trail Baltimore by 3 1/2 games for the second Wild Card berth. The Yanks also still trail the Tigers, Astros and Mariners, however.
There was good news for another Yankees rookie. Through fan voting, Rob Refsnyder was selected as the AL East winner for the 2016 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award presented annually by the Major League Players Association for community involvement.
Refsnyder partnered with Athletes Brand to design a T-shirt that benefits A Kid’s Place, a Tampa-based organization that works to provide stability and care for children removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. His name will appear on the 2016 Players Choice Award ballots for league-wide voting to determine this season’s award winner.
Two former Yankees players were among the other division winners, relief pitcher David Robertson of the White Sox (AL Central) and Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson (National League East). Also voted onto the final ballot were Astros pitcher Lance McCullers (AL West), Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (NL Central) and Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (NL West).
The Yankees will honor Mark Teixeira in a ceremony prior to their 3:05 p.m. game Sunday, Oct. 2, against the Orioles. Teixeira, 36, will retire as a player at the end of the 2016 season.
He joined the Yankees as a free agent Jan. 6, 2009 when he signed an eight-year contract. In that time, Teixeira has batted .248 with 530 runs, 183 doubles, five triples, 203 home runs, 615 RBI, 472 walks, a .343 on-base percentage and .820 OPS in 948 regular-season games and 3,494 at-bats. The Yankees’ record during Tex’s tenure is 542-406 (.572).
With the Yankees, he earned three Gold Gloves (2009-10, ’12) and a Silver Slugger (2009), and was named to two American League All-Star teams (2009, ’15). As part of the Yankees’ World Series-winning team in 2009, Teixeira finished second in American League Most Valuable Player Award voting. He led the AL with 122 RBI (including a league-leading 31 go-ahead RBI) and tied for the league lead with 39 home runs. He also hit an 11th-inning “walk-off” home run to win Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the Twins.
In franchise history, Teixeira is tied with Roger Maris for 15th place in home runs, trailing only Lou Gehrig (493), Don Mattingly (222) and Jason Giambi (209) among players whose primary position was first base. Along with Maris, Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez, Tex was one of four Yankees all-time to hit at least 30 home runs in each of his first three seasons with the club.
Originally drafted by Texas as the fifth overall pick of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Teixeira has played 14 seasons in the majors with the Rangers (2003-07), Braves (2007-08), Angels (2008) and Yankees (2009-present) and batted .268 with 1,096 runs, 406 doubles, 18 triples, 406 home runs, 1,291 RBI, 914 walks, a .360 on-base percentage and an .869 OPS in 1,852 games and 6,908 at-bats. He is a three-time All-Star (also 2005), five-time Gold Glove winner (also 2005-06) and three-time Silver Slugger winner (also 2004-05).
Only four switch-hitters in baseball history have more home runs than Teixeira (Mickey Mantle-536, Eddie Murray-504, Chipper Jones-468 and former teammate Carlos Beltran-419) and only four players have more home runs since his debut in 2003 (Albert Pujols-519, David Ortiz-479, Miguel Cabrera-441, Adam Dunn-417).
A Maryland native who now lives on Greenwich, Conn., Teixeira has been actively involved in charitable endeavors throughout his career, including participation on the Board of Directors of Harlem RBI, supporting a scholarship fund at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, and creating a scholarship at his high school, Mt. St. Joseph, in the name of his friend Nick Liberatore, who passed away in a car accident while the two were in school together.
When Didi Gregorius lifted a soft fly ball to left field in his first at-bat Sunday, I said to the person next to me in the press box, “The shortstop could use a day off.”
There is a good chance that manager Joe Girardi felt the same way. Gregorius ended up taking a 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to the Rays to continue a slump that has persisted through September. So it was no surprise that he was not in the starting lineup for Monday night’s opener of the three-game, inter-league series against the Dodgers.
“I think it’s just getting beat up over the course of the year,” Girardi said. “Whether it’s the two balls he took off his arm — the hit by pitches, ribs, off his feet, sometimes you get to a point where you just need to shut a guy down for a day or two.”
September is the beat-up month as players who have slogged through the dog days of August try to lick their wounds. For an everyday shortstop such as Gregorius, who has been perhaps the Yankees’ steadiest player, the bumps and bruises can really pile up.
Gregorius’ season heated up big-time in June, a month in which he batted .337. His season batting average remained in the .290s throughout July when he hit .297 overall. He slipped to .268 in August, but that was also his best power month with six home runs and 18 RBI.
Come September, Didi has fallen into his first extended slump of the year with only three hits in 34 at-bats, a .088 stretch that has dragged his average down from .286 to .273. Gregorius has already achieved career-high totals in home runs (17) and RBI (64), but he has not homered in 84 at-bats since Aug. 18.
It comes at a time that he has been moved around the lineup as Girardi seeks to find players who can be productive in the middle of the lineup with the release of Alex Rodriguez and the reduction in playing time of retiring Mark Teixeira.
Actually, Gregorius has been decent as a cleanup hitter, batting .279 with four doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBI in 43 at-bats but has hit only .231 in 13 at-bats in the 3-hole. He is most comfortable — and productive — hitting lower in the order. His combined numbers from the 7- and 8-holes indicate that: .301 with 14 doubles, seven homers and 32 RBI in 226 at-bats.
Something old, something new.
It is this combination that has sustained the Yankees in their winning streak that reached seven games Saturday with a 5-1 victory over the Rays. Remember about two weeks ago I wrote that the Yankees needed to do more than just win series, taking two of three games here and two of three there. They need to go on a run the way the Royals worked themselves into contention with a nine-game winning streak.
Well, here it is, Yankees fans. This is the Yanks’ longest winning streak since a seven-gamer May 1-9 of last year. They are a season-best 11 games over .500, have won 13 of their past 14 games, 20 of their past 29 and are 24-13 since the non-waiver trading deadline of Aug. 1.
The Yankees got a strong start from Masahiro Tanaka (13-4, 3.04 ERA), who gave up one run and five hits with 10 strikeouts, and a combination of old (Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury) and new (Gary Sanchez and Rob Refsnyder) to remain on the heels of the Orioles and the Tigers in the race for the second Wild Card slot in the playoffs. With Baltimore and Detroit opposing each other Saturday night, the Yanks were guaranteed to be no more than one game behind.
But that is not all. With the Red Sox losing to the Blue Jays, the Yankees are only three games out of first place. Who could have imagined this happening back in that last weekend in July when the Yankees were stuck at .500 (52-52) after getting swept in a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Sunday the Yankees have a chance to sweep those same Rays, this time in a four-game set. They have swept two others four-game series this year, against the Angels and the Athletics, and have already won their past eight four-game series.
Tanaka gave the Yankees something they have lacked from a starter lately — length. Manager Joe Girardi had used 35 pitchers over the previous six games in the winning streak, an average of nearly six pitchers per game. This is less taxing on the staff at this time of year when rosters have expanded. Girardi used to beef about September games with uneven roster numbers, but you do not hear him complaining now as his team is trying to pull off an epic comeback.
After giving up a home run to Bobby Wilson and hitting a batter in the eighth, Tanaka came out for Adam Warren, who also plunked a batter before getting a huge double-play grounder from Evan Longoria.
Rays starter Chris Archer, who has been tough on the Yankees (5-2 entering play), fell to 8-18 essentially because of the first three hitters in the lineup. Gardner singled leading off the sixth of what was then a scoreless game.
Ellsbury wears out Archer and did so again with his eighth home run of the season. Sanchez followed with another bomb, his 13th. The trio was at it again in the eighth, this time against lefthander Enny Romero. Gardner singled, Ellsbury doubled and Sanchez was able to reach the first pitch of what was supposed to be the start of an intentional walk for a sacrifice fly to the warning track. Didi Gregorius added another sac fly.
Refsnyder was 0-for-3 but made an important defensive play, a lunging catch in right field to keep the game scoreless in the sixth.
The something old-something new formula had worked in Friday night’s marathon with Sanchez hitting his 12th homer and Mark Teixeira crushing his 11th career grand slam.
Tanaka has won each of his past six decisions over a seven-start stretch since Aug. 7. He is 5-0 with a 2.42 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings seven starts against the Rays, with the Yankees winning each of those starts.
Sanchez is one of five players in major league history with 13 home runs in his first 35 games (also Wally Joyner, Mike Jacobs, Kevin Maas and Wally Berger). Ellsbury is a career .559 hitter against Archer in 34 at-bats. Gardner has multiple hits in each of his past three games with an at-bat (6-for-12). The Yankees are 11-1 when Gardner and Ellsbury each collect at least two hits in the same game.
The Yankees had to wait until two out in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday night for one of the Baby Bombers to make a major contribution. It turned out to be a big one, an opposite-field home run to right by Tyler Austin that produced a 5-4 victory over the Rays.
Prior to that, the Yankees’ offense was powered by veterans. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury both singled in the first inning and scored on a out-single by Didi Gregorius and an errant pickoff attempt by Rays starter Alex Cobb.
Their other two runs were courtesy of two long home runs by Brian McCann, one into the second deck in the fourth inning and one into the suites section between the second and third decks in the second inning. McCann, who was 3-for-4, is enjoying a .455 homestand with three home runs and five RBI in 11 at-bats.
McCann lost his regular catching job to rookie sensation Gary Sanchez and has not made a peep about all the while contributing in his at-bats as a designated hitter. Mac was back behind the plate Thursday night and did his usual solid job, especially in the fifth when rookie Jonathan Holder nearly balked home the tying run. Mac claimed that Holder was merely requesting to go through the signs again in moving his glove, an argument continued by Girardi, who was able to get plate umpire Mike Everitt to confer with the other umps. The group decision upheld McCann’s point of view, and the Yankees caught a huge break.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had another veteran available in the dugout as a possible pinch hitter for Austin in the ninth after the Rays brought in righthander Erasmo Ramirez with two outs and none on. Mark Teixeira, with 405 career home runs, was on the bench, but Girardi stayed with Austin.
“I like the way he has been swinging the bat lately,” Girardi said of Austin, who has six hits in the past four games, four of them for extra bases. “With that splitter Ramirez has, right-handed hitters sometimes have an advantage over left-handed hitters.”
The switch-hitting Teixeira would have batted left-handed against Ramirez. Girardi played a hunch, and it paid off.
Girardi had a busy night navigating his pitching staff on a night when relievers Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances were virtually unavailable because of heavy recent use. Despite that, the skipper did not hesitate to lift an ineffective CC Sabathia with two on and none out in the fifth.
Sabathia had given up two home runs to Kevin Kiermaier and one to Steven Souza Jr. Holder was also victimized by Souza in the sixth that made the score 4-4, which is where it stayed until Austin came to bat in the ninth. The score remained that way because of the ensemble relief effort of Chasen Shreve, Blake Parker, Kirby Yates and Tommy Layne.
The Yanks’ fifth straight victory pushed their record to a season-high nine games over .500 at 74-65 as they leaped over another club, the Astros, in the sweepstakes for the second Wild Card slot. The Yankees had already sped by the Mariners and the Royals and now have their sights set on the Orioles (two games behind) and the Tigers (one game behind). Baltimore and Detroit were not scheduled Thursday night.
Neither was Boston, so the Yankees picked up a half-game on the American League East leader and are only four games out of first place in the division.
The Yankees finally made it to five games over .500 for the first time this season in pushing their record to 66-61. Four times previously, they came within one game of that mark only to lose the next game. The Yanks made sure that did not happen again Friday night as they let the Orioles know they have them in their sights.
The Yankees also got over the monotony of a scoreboard line of five runs, nine hits and no errors, which is what it was in each of the three games of their prior series at Seattle. The only match this time was no errors because the Yankees cranked out 14 runs and 18 hits.
This will probably come as no big surprise, but Gary Sanchez had another big night for the Yankees. The catcher, who is putting himself in possible contention for the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year Award, drove in four runs with a home run, a double and a single. The Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up continues to rake at a .403 clip with 10 home runs and 20 RBI in 20 games and 77 at-bats.
This is Willie McCovey stuff.
What do I mean by that? In their second season in San Francisco, the Giants brought up McCovey, the future Hall of Fame first baseman, July 30, 1959. He went 4-for-4 with two triples and two RBI and kept right on hitting to where he batted .354 with nine doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 38 RBI and was the unanimous National League Rookie of the Year winner despite playing in only 52 games and totaling 192 at-bats. Sanchez is on a similar pace with 35 games remaining in the regular season.
“He seems to center ball he hits,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It has been exciting to watch.”
Sanchez, who has eight home runs in his past nine games, became the third player in major league history to hit 10 homers in his first 22 career games. The others were the Rockies’ Trevor Story this year and the Red Sox’ George Scott in 1966. Sanchez’s 20 RBI in his first 22 big-league games is the third most in club history. Joe DiMaggio had 22 in 1936 and Hideki Matsui 21 in 2003. With 10 homers in 19 games this month, Sanchez set a franchise rookie record for home runs in a single month. They are the most in a month by any Yankees player since Alfonso Soriano hit 13 homers in August 2013.
Of the nine players in the Yankees’ starting lineup, seven had multiple hits in the game. In addition to Sanchez’s trio of knocks, Starlin Castro also had three with Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley and Ronald Torreyes chiming in with two apiece. Teixeira and Headley joined Sanchez in the home run column. Tex and Gardner each had three RBI. All nine starters had hits and eight scored.
There was more good news on the mound for the Yankees as Luis Cessa improved his record to 4-0 by winning his second straight start. If not for Manny Machado, who drove in all three Orioles runs off Cessa, the righthander would have been working on a shutout. He gave up only three other hits and a walk with five strikeouts in six innings. After pitching to a 5.30 ERA in 17 relief outings totaling 18 2/3 innings, Cessa is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings in his first two big-league starts.
The Yankees’ 14-4 victory over Baltimore also sliced a game off the deficit between them and the Orioles for the second wild card slot. The Yanks trail the O’s by only 3 1/2 games.
That was quite a second inning for the Yankees Friday night. It is not every game that you see the entire lineup reach base in succession.
Yet that is what happened for the Yankees in expanding their 2-1 lead over the Orioles to 8-1 at the end of the second inning. After Starlin Castro flied out to center to lead off the inning, the next nine batters for the Yankees all reached base with six scoring.
Chase Headley, who was the designated hitter because Brian McCann returned home to Georgia to attend his grandmother’s funeral, started the merry-go-round with a single to right. Aaron Judge walked, and the Yanks got a huge break when Nolan Reimond, who had just entered the game in center field replacing Adam Jones (left hamstring strain), dropped a soft liner by Ronald Torreyes that loaded the bases.
Then came a single to left by Brett Gardner for two runs, a single to right by Jacoby Ellsbury for one and a double to right by Gary Sanchez for another. Vance Worley took over for battered starters Yovani Gallardo and gave up a single to right by Mark Teixeira for yet one more run. Didi Gregorius and Castro followed with singles that re-loaded the bases and completed the full turn in the lineup with all getting on base. The rally died when Headley fouled out to third and Judge struck out.
The outburst put Yankees starter Luis Cessa in a comfort zone. He had given up Manny Machado’s 30th home run with two down in the first. Teixeira trumped that with a two-run blast that reached the right-center field bleachers in the bottom of the inning.
Could a game like Sunday’s give Mark Teixeira second thoughts about retiring?
The first baseman reiterated his stance from last week that he will step away from the game as a player at the end of the season.
“I love playing first base, but every year it gets tougher and tougher,” Teixeira said after the Yankees’ 3-2 victory over the Indians. “I only have a few of those [games] left.”
Perhaps it is his conscience being eased at making what he feels is the right decision, but Teixeira has appeared more comfortable in recent days than he has in recent years. Sunday, he was a central figure in a victory that unfortunately took second fiddle to the other slice of news, that Alex Rodriguez will end his playing career after Friday’s game when the Yankees return to Yankee Stadium for a weekend series against the Rays following a brief trip to Boston.
Teixeira drove in what proved the deciding run with an opposite-field double to left batting left-handed in the fifth inning. A more startling contribution came in the seventh when he beat speedy Francisco Lindor to first base with both sliding into the bag for the final out that prevented the Tribe from tying the score.
The Indians scored their first run in that inning and had runners on first and second with two out when Lindor hit a smoking grounder down the first base line. Teixeira gobbled it up, but reliever Adam Warren broke late for the bag and could not cover in time to beat Lindor. That was left to Teixeira, who got to his feet, hastened to the bag and then dived for it with his glove extended that hit the base seconds before the outstretched hand of an equalling diving Lindor.
“The first thing on a play like that is to make sure the ball doesn’t get down the line,” Teixeira said. “It would be two runs if that happens. I was hoping to flip it to Adam, but he wasn’t there. I knew I would have to dive because Lindor was coming down the line at full steam while I was starting from scratch.”
It was the type of play that demonstrated why Teixeira won three Gold Gloves for fielding during his exemplary career. The Indians made it a one-run game with a run in the eighth on a wild pitch by Dellin Betances, who atoned for that by earning his second save.
Masahiro Tanaka (8-4) pitched into the seventh and allowed six hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in what manager Joe Girardi called his best game of the season. “To shut down a team that beat him up badly the last time out was impressive,” Girardi said.
Brett Gardner opened the game for the Yankees with a triple off Carlos Carrasco (7-6) and scored on a sacrifice fly. Gardy tied Jake for the team lead with five triples, including three in his past six games. It was Gardner’s third leadoff triple this year, all in the past 18 games. No other major league team has more than two.
Didi Gregorius made the score 2-0 in the fourth with his 13th home run to put a nice touch on Didi Gregorius Bobblehead Day.
One weird sight came in the third when Ellsbury, on first base with a walk, kept running around the bases as Teixeira lifted a foul pop behind third and into a double play. So what happened?
“I asked him about it, and his answer might be stranger than why he kept going,” Girardi said. “It was a first for me. Put it down to a brain cramp.”
In his retirement announcement before Friday night’s game, Mark Teixeira repeatedly emphasized that his departure would not be until the end of the season and that there was still plenty of ball left to play for him and his teammates, several of whom attended his press conference.
“There are still games left for us to win,” he said. “We want to win as many games as we can. This is a team in transition, but we still have a shot.”
Teixeira did not look like a player on his last legs Friday night in the Yankees’ 13-7 victory over the American League Central-leading Indians. The Yanks took three of four games from the Tribe in Cleveland two weeks ago and continued their success in the opener of a three-game series. The loss trimmed Cleveland’s lead to two games over the Tigers, 4-3 winners over the Mets at Detroit.
Tex extended his consecutive stretch of reaching base to eight plate appearances with hits his first two times up. He doubled to right in the first inning to help the Yankees build a 1-0 lead off Josh Tomlin. In the fourth, Teixeira got an infield single that aided in setting the table for Starlin Castro’s first career grand slam that followed an RBI double by Brian McCann and an intentional walk to Chase Headley.
McCann was the designated hitter as recent Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Gary Sanchez got his first start behind the plate. He did a solid job working with Michael Pineda and was part of the 16-hit attack. Sanchez doubled in a run in the fifth and got a second RBI the next inning on a bases-loaded walk.
Jacoby Ellsbury led the way with four hits as everyone in the Yankees’ starting lineup took part in the hit parade. Teixeira, Castro, Brett Gardner and Rob Refsnyder had two hits apiece. Seven different players had extra-base hits — doubles by Teixeira, Ellsbury, McCann and Sanchez, a triple by Gardner and homers by Castro and Aaron Hicks.
Pineda overcame a three-run homer by catcher Chris Gimenez, the 9-hole hitter, and pitched into the seventh.
Upon reflection of when his playing days were nearing an end, Yankees manager Joe Girardi recalled praying that it would be revealed to him when to retire. Then he hurt his back. The daily struggle to stay healthy was all he needed to know that the time to walk away had come.
It is never easy for a gifted athlete who has known success at a high level. Many of them need to have the uniform torn off them before they can admit it is over. Mark Teixeira was not like that. He was more like Girardi.
“My body can’t do it anymore,” Teixeira said before Friday night’s game at Yankee Stadium. “It has been a struggle to stay on the field the last three or four years.”
That is why Teixeira called a late-afternoon press conference where he announced that he will retire at the end of this season. With the Yankees in a period of transition, he did not want to be a distraction. Tex has dealt with neck and knee issues all year. In recent seasons, he has seen more of the trainer’s room that he would like.
I remember Don Mattingly telling me years ago when back issues pushed him towards retirement that it took so much more energy and work to get into the shape needed for the 162-game grind of the Major League Baseball schedule that he knew it was time to walk away, as difficult as that was to do.
“Every kid playing whiffle ball in the backyard or playing Little League, you dream of being a major league baseball player,” Teixeira said. “After 14 years it’s time for me to do something else and after this season I’m going to retire and do something else. I got to live out my dream and had more success than I could ever imagined, but it felt like it was the right time to step away from the game. I want to finish this season on a high note.”
Teixeira, who had a big game Wednesday night only to be on the sidelines again Thursday night because of a sore knee, talked it over with Girardi and told him how he was leaning.
“Are you sure,” Girardi said to Teixeira. “At this point in a season, players are banged up and think along those lines.”
Teixeira assured Girardi he was certain about his decision and then added, “I’ll do whatever you need me to do. What would that be?”
Girardi answered, “Play first base.”
So Teixeira was back in the lineup Friday night. He intends to play out the season as much as his aching knee and neck allow. Tex has been playing with a cartilage tear in his right knee since early June. His neck sprain is a chronic condition.
It was just a year ago that a trimmed-down Teixeira belted 31 home runs and was in the discussion for American League Most Valuable Player consideration entering August, but a foul ball off his knee caused more damage that originally thought that ended his season prematurely.
He has struggled offensively much of this season and entered play Friday night batting .198 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. Tex has picked it up lately. He has reached safely in six consecutive plate appearances and eight of his past nine. He was on base in nine of 13 plate appearances in his three Subway Series games against the Mets. Over his past eight games, Teixeira has had a slash line of .333/.484/.542 with five runs, two doubles, one home run and four RBI in 24 at-bats.
His 400th career double Tuesday night at Citi Field made him the first switch-hitter in major league history with 400 career doubles and 400 career home runs. His 404 homers rank fifth on the switch hitter list behind Mickey Mantle (536), Eddie Murray (504), Chipper Jones (468) and former Yankees teammate Carlos Beltran (415).
Teixeira grew up a Murray fan in Annapolis, Md., and was encouraged to switch-hit by his father, whom he thanked in a tearful address. “I need to let you know,” he said. “The Teixeira’s are cryers.”
He thanked the Rangers, who drafted him in the first round and signed him in 2001, and Buck Showalter, his manager in Texas who showed patience after Teixeira started his career with 15 hitless at-bats but finished the season with 26 home runs. He called second stop Atlanta his second home since he attended Georgia Tech and married a Georgia girl. He thanked the Angels for “two fabulous months” in 2008 and giving him his first taste of postseason play.
But it was his time with the Yankees that he loved most. Signing an eight-year contract prior to the 2009 season, he finished second in the MVP race that year with a 39-homer, 122-RBI output for the most recent Yankees team to win the World Series.
“2009 was a whirlwind, winning the World Series in the first year of the new Stadium,” Teixeira said. “I probably didn’t appreciate it as much at the time because you think you’ll win three or four more.”
The only personal achievement Teixeira mentioned was the pride he had in having eight seasons of more than 30 homers and 100 RBI.
Yet all that seemed so far away as the injuries piled up. And with free agency lurking after season’s end, Teixeira decided this was the moment to call it a career once the schedule is finished.
“Being a free agent at season’s end, and being 36, retirement is always in the back of your mind,” he said. “If I have to grind through the season not being healthy, I’d rather be somewhere else. I did not want to be a distraction. I would miss my kids way too much to be in some training room in Detroit not knowing if I can play while they’re in Little League or a play or something.”
With the Yankees in this period of transition, there is always the possibility a contending team might be interested in a player who won five Gold Glove and three Silver Slugger Awards and was a three-time All-Star.
“There has been no conversation about a trade, but I want to retire as a Yankee,” Teixeira said. “There is something about the Yankees. When you play against them you want to beat them or play well at Yankee Stadium. It was an unbelievable blessing to get to wear the pinstripes every day.”
Tex also had a message to Yankees fans: “They are the greatest fans in the world. I was far from perfect, but I appreciated your support. I gave you everything I had. It wasn’t always enough, but I tried very hard and am proud to have such fans rooting for the Yankees.”
And soon he will be among them.
“I’ll be watching,” Teixeira said. “I’ll be a Yankees fan forever.”