New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira hit the disabled list for the second time in the past two seasons on Saturday. Teixeira only played in 15 games in 2013 because of a strained wrist tendon. But you can exhale Yankees fans — it wasn’t his wrist that sidelined him this time. Teixeira was diagnosed with a strained right hamstring and narrowly avoided hitting the DL. However, he is on the 15-day DL as a precautionary move to limit any further strain to the first-baseman’s fragile body.
Teixeira’s injury means seeing a lot more of Joe Girardi‘s binder tactics. Now without the 3-4-5 hitters cemented every day in Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, Girardi will revert to favorable match-ups on any given day in Tex’s absence. Using Kelly Johnson at first base was anticipated now that Yangervis Solarte has assumed the third base role. However, Francisco Cervelli was trotted out to man first base for the first time in his career on Tuesday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles. That’s right — the backup catcher was used at first.
Now that Teixeira is out, the Yankees’ vulnerability on defense is on full display. The overload of outfielders and the emergence of Solarte will satisfy on offense, but the lack of depth in the infield is worrisome. Heading into Spring Training there were several question marks about the durability of the infield, and the speculation still remains with Teixeira being the first man to fall.
The Yankees learned last season just how rapidly injuries can pile up for a team of their style — old. Teixeira’s stint on the DL is expected to be brief, but there is still a great cause for concern with the rest of the Yankees’ infield. Brian Roberts can’t expected to last the full season, and while Derek Jeter may look great early on, he is still turning 40 years old in June.
Teixeira’s injury inclinations are becoming a problem for the Yankees, and they need to find a solid backup solution immediately. Regardless of how quickly he returns from his hamstring injury, his wrist still isn’t 100 percent and he stated it probably won’t be all season. I wouldn’t count on Tex being a factor towards the end of the season.