Mark Teixeira Injury Thoughts & Afterthoughts

Sad Teix

Well this has been a fun start to the 2013 season, huh?  Not exactly what any of us had in mind or expected after a long, frustrating offseason, but I guess for the sake of consistency and tying plot points together you might as well have an injury-filled preseason to reinforce just how bad the offseason was.  Mark Teixeira, whether he rebounded from last year or not, was one of the most important players in this lineup and now he’s out for 8-10 weeks with a sprained tendon in his right wrist.  To be honest, I’m still trying to process everything that relates to this injury in my head, so rather than attempt to formulate a smooth, logical response post I’m just going to go with the old “Ts and AferTs” standby and at least get my thoughts out.

– First things first, this is an absolutely brutal injury.  Brutal.  There’s no other way to describe it and no way to attempt to find a silver lining here.  Even the “at least it was early in the season” argument doesn’t carry much water in my book in this instance because we aren’t talking about a broken bone that just sets and heals.  We’re talking about an injury to a body part with lots of moving pieces that tends to linger and not get better.  Wrist injuries always sap hitters of their power and the Yankees were already a bit short in that department.

– As a point of comparison, think back to last season when Jose Bautista suffered a similar injury, originally in a game against the Yankees if I’m not mistaken.  He was in and out of the lineup for two months after it happened, resting and rehabbing and suffering setback after setback when he tried to swing a bat again before finally deciding on season-ending surgery.  The Yankees’ plan for Teix is four weeks of rest and then 4-6 of rehab, but based on recent history it’s probably going to take more than that for Teix’s wrist to fully heal.

– The Yankee lineup is in absolute shambles right now.  If the season started today, you’d see Dan Johnson at first, Eduardo Nunez at shortstop, and probably Melky Mesa in center field.  Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano would be the only players from the 2012 starting lineup left in the 2013 version.  I honestly don’t even want to see what kind of runs/game output this current lineup would generate.

– As far as outside replacements go, Cash did state that the team will check the market on corner infielders, but there’s just not much out there right now.  On the free agent market you’re talking about Aubrey Huff (sucks), Miguel Cairo (sucks), and Carlos Lee (sucks less).  A few players will fall through the cracks later this month when more roster cuts happen, but they’ll likely be of similar caliber to the three I just mentioned.  And if you’re thinking about an in-house option in the Minors, forget about it.  Luke Murton?  Kyle Roller?  Yeah, no.

– The best in-house option, if the Yankees don’t add anybody, is to move Kevin Youkilis to first base while Teix is out and plug either Nunez or Jayson Nix in at third to start the season.  That would require Derek Jeter being ready for Opening Day, which is still a less than 100% certainty, but it would be the best use of their current IF depth and would help keep Youkilis healthier.

– If Cash were inspired to pick up the phone and test the trade market, the options get a little better.  The Yanks certainly aren’t prying Eric Hosmer away from KC, but they could take a shot (if they haven’t already) at Casper Wells.  Put him to the outfield to start the season, move Juan Rivera to first base in the interim, and when Teix comes back Wells and Ichiro can be the RF platoon.

– Dom Lanza thought that idea sounded depressing, and it actually really does.  So if you wanted to get a little more exciting you could say this is the perfect opportunity for the Yankees to say “screw it” and try to trade the farm for Giancarlo Stanton.  He would replace Teix’s production, really lengthen the lineup when Teix and C-Grand both came back, and help the team’s age and payroll situations.  It would come off as a desperation move, but Stanton is the type of player you make that move for.  He’s not much older than any of the Yankees’ top positional prospects and is already better than any of them are likely going to be.

– Not that I’m admitting I had any karmic effect on what happened to Teix, but the next time I write a post singling a player out as a critical part of the team’s success I think I’m just going to delete it.

– It’s not like Teix’s defense ever gets glossed over, but once again this will shine a light on just how valuable he is at first base.  With Nunez expected to get plenty of early playing time one way or another, and his tendency to just wing throws to wherever, it could get ugly at first without Teix there to bail him out.  Johnson hasn’t exactly been putting on a Tom Emanski clinic in the field so far.

– Pitching was going to be more important than ever this year, and now in April it becomes really important.  The first month’s schedule isn’t a cakewalk, although it isn’t exactly a gauntlet either, and the Yanks can’t afford to get poor starting pitching if they want to tread water.  And they absolutely cannot have CC, Kuroda, or Pettitte get hurt.

That’s it.  That’s all I got right now.  In the days to come I’m sure I’ll settle down and put together something more composed about how the Yankees can manage to overcome this, but right now I just can’t see it.  They’re taking on water big time and we’re still 3 weeks away from the season even starting.  Things aren’t good in Yankeeland at the moment.  They’re just not.

(Photo courtesy of Don Pokress/Newsday)

About Brad Vietrogoski

Born in Dover, Delaware and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Brad now resides in Wisconsin, where he regularly goes out of his way to remind Brewers fans that their team will never be as good as the Yankees. When he’s not writing for IIATMS, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

11 thoughts on “Mark Teixeira Injury Thoughts & Afterthoughts

  1. Well look at it this way… at least you were able to work a Tom Emanski reference in there.

  2. Any thoughts on playing either Nunez or Jeter at first for a month (not that either will happen)? There’s a good reason for each. For Jeter, it will put less strain on his ankle for a while. For Nunez, it takes advantage of his good hands while mitigating his erratic arm. And either allows Youk to stay at third, where he will be better than other options.

  3. I think you have to put Youkilis at first. That does two things. First, he is their best fielding option there. Secondly, it shields his health a little better than him playing third does.

    Okay, that settled, now you think of options for third base. Why would it be a stretch to try David Adams over there? The guy is 25 years old and has always had good minor league OBP numbers.

    Heck, this is a perfect time to try some kids and let them sink or swim.

    • Agree completely that Youkilis should be moved to first in the interim. He's the best internal option the Yankees have at this point.

      I'm a big Adams fan, and if he would have come into camp healthy I think he'd have a real shot. But with his back issue and injury history, I think the Yanks are going to take it easy on him and start him in the Minors.

    • Don't forget Ronnier Mustelier has actually played some third at both Trenton and Scranton and third was his primary position in Cuba

  4. Gentlemen food for thought for all the doomsdayers out there. On May 21st 2011 the Yankees record was 24-20 on May 21st, 2012 they were 21-21. In each of those seasons the Yankees managed to win their division and win a total of 97 and 95 games respectively. Even though they did not start out each of those seasons great. Will history repeat itself in 2013? Who really knows, but what I do know for the majority of 50 plus years I have been a Yankee fan it is foolish to underestimate them. And it is even more fool hardly to count them out BEFORE a single game has been played. What it appears some on this board have already done. That's just my opinion.

    • You're overlooking one tiny, but important point. Those teams were underperforming, and only had to un-regress back to mean.

      The guys who are going to take the field this April will have to play over their heads, just to be .500. Be as glass half full as you want, but I sure would not be expecting much out of this cast of retreads and never-wases.

      • Perhaps but someone always seems to step up when things seem to go against the Yankees. In 2011 it was Jones, Colon and Garcia. In 2012 it was Ibanez and Chavez. I'm not willing to count the Yankees out on March 7 as it seems some are. That's just my opinion.

        • Thanks for the reality check. I still see 1965, but I've been seeing that for several years and have been wrong every time. I go back almost as far as you, I believe. If on Memorial Day this team is within 5-7 games of the division lead, then it would be reasonable to think they could contend and even win. A 10-18 April would probably doom them, since the wild card will likely come out of the AL West. All we can do is let it play out. And if 2013 is that season from hell, so be it. We'll regroup for 2014