In the midst of all the offseason moves the New York Yankees have been making recently, little has been mentioned about first base. The assumption is that Mark Teixeira will finish rehabbing his wrist without incident between now and Spring Training, and hopefully he will be good to go by Opening Day.
Teixeira sat the first two months of the 2013 season after suffering a tear on the tendon sheath of his right wrist while preparing for the World Baseball Classic last March. He attempted to come back in May, but played in only 15 games before wrist inflammation forced him to have season-ending surgery.
The surgery was performed in early July and at the time, his doctor estimated six months to make a full recovery. Since then, we haven’t heard much about it. In November, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger outlined Teixeira’s rehabilitation plan.
According to McCullough, Teixeira is currently performing exercises to strengthen his torn sheath. By Jan. 1, the plan is to be swinging the bat at full speed. By Feb. 1, he’d like to take swings at 90-mph fastballs. He’ll report to Spring Training in Tampa on Feb. 19, but doesn’t plan to play in games right away. He’ll go through several simulated games before seeing real game action in early March.
That all sounds fine and good, but as we learned all too well last year, rehabbing injuries doesn’t always go according to plan. Assuming that Teixeira does come back with no residual problems, he is definitely the Yankees’ best option at first base, especially defensively. However, even before his injury, it’s not as if he was performing with his usual high levels of offensive production.
Teixeira’s first season with the Yankees (2009) was certainly his best. He batted .292/.383/.565, hit 39 home runs, racked up 122 RBI and finished second in the AL MVP voting. In 2012, however, he batted .251/.332/.475 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI – not bad, but not great. And it’s definitely not the stellar offensive production you’d like to see from your very expensive first baseman. Teixeira is owed $22.5 million in 2014 and is under contract with the Yankees through 2016. He’s definitely not going anywhere, so the question now revolves around his health.
Is he healthy? The answer is not yet. Yankee fans will just have to hope that all goes according to plan, and maybe that extensive rehabilitation will help put some much-needed life back into Teixeira’s bat too.
Either way, as the Yankees fill out their infield holes at second and third base, they would be wise to look at players who have experience at first as well. You just never know.