Sunday, April 18, 2010

Time To Take A Deep Breath

April has never been Mark Teixeira's month.

A career .240 hitter in the season's first month, Tex is accustomed to slow starts.

But this April has been beyond slow, even by Teixeira's standards.

The first baseman went 1-for-4 with an RBI to raise his average to .100 as the Yankees rolled to a 7-3 victory over the Texas Rangers Saturday at Yankee Stadium behind seven shutout innings from A.J. Burnett.

Even Tex's one hit was less then impressive -- a broke-bat, run-scoring, infield single in the second that made it 2-0. He's now 4-for-40 with five RBI.

Mark Teixeira is struggling badly, but that's no reason to panic. I'm confident that not only is this guy going to hit, but he's going to put up some monster numbers.

It's going to happen. Give it time.

But right now, it isn't happening for Teixeira and he could use a little help.

The switch-hitter just isn't right at the moment. Mechanically he is dropping his back leg too much, throwing off his swing. That's something that will get corrected. He is working in the cage and he and hitting coach Kevin Long will get that sweet swing straightened out.

What's more concerning is that it also appears that he's pressing. With the Yankees getting off to a fast start by winning their first four series to start a season for the first time since 1926, Teixeira clearly wants to join in the fun and contribute. With each passing day, it seems as if he's putting more pressure on himself with the hits not falling.

Of course, it could be much worse. The Yankees are 8-3 and getting contributions from everyone. Brett Gardner had three infield hits in Saturday's win. Derek Jeter homered, and so did Alex Rodriguez, who hit his first of the season. That takes a lot of pressure of Teixeira right there.

But this is where Joe Girardi has an opportunity to give Tex a helping hand.

Associated Press
With a day off Monday as the Yankees head to California to start a trip in Oakland, Girardi can provide Teixeira with a bit of a respite.

Girardi should not start Teixeira today.

Now, let's be clear. I'm not calling for Teixeira to be benched. I'm not saying he shouldn't be playing. Teixeira is too good to be benched.

What I am saying is that a little break could help the guy.

All players go through slumps. They have their hot streaks, and they have their cold streaks. You never want to take a hot player out of the lineup, but sometimes when a player is slumping, sometimes all he needs is take a step back and pause.

By sitting Tex today or using him off the bench late, Girardi would give his All-Star first baseman two days to relax and unwind. It would be a chance to gather himself. And it could help get him back into a better frame of mind.

Teixeira is an important cog in this Yankees machine. There is going to a two- to four-week stretch this season when he carries this offense.

The Yankees just need to give him a little jump-start to get him going first. A break today might be all that he needs.

Up Next
Today vs. Rangers, 1:05 p.m., YES
Rich Harden (0-0, 2.79 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (1-0, 0.75)

1 comment:

MONDOAS said...

.167, .222, .136

Above are the averages that Teixeira has had recently during the ALDS, ALCS and WS. We have rolled into a new year and he can barely break .100 so, as a fan, I am a little concerned. The best average he has hit for recently was in Spring Training.