Sunday’s camp notes: Tex sees Yanks as underdogs again
It was about this time two years that Mark Teixeira arrived in camp and, with a straight face, said that he viewed the Yankees as underdogs. The Red Sox were stealing all of the headlines then, trumpeting the big signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford (hey, those didn’t work out so well!), and Teixeira thought people were sleeping on the Yanks too much.
Fast forward to today, and suddenly we’re right back in the same conversation. The Yankees didn’t make much noise this past winter and the Blue Jays seem to be the new media darlings, so Teixeira wonders where the fanfare has been for the boys in the Bronx.
“I’m so excited. I really feel good about our team this year,” Teixeira said. “It’s actually fun when everyone else counts you out because it kind of makes guys want it a little bit more. Every year we want it, but this year especially, it’s going to be even more of a challenge. I think that’s going to make it more exciting as the year goes on.”
Teixeira acknowledges that the Yankees are going to have to shuffle the formula a little bit this year, losing power from guys like Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez. Then again, as the Yanks anticipate getting full seasons from Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki, Teixeira said he thinks the lineup will be much more effective stealing bases and executing hit-and-runs.
That could come in handy in an American League East that, no matter whom you want to pick as the favorite, absolutely no one views as a soft place to play.
“All you hear about is the Blue Jays. That’s good,” Teixeira said. “They had a heck of an offseason and it’s a very good team. We have five quality teams in our division. It used to be that you had to worry about maybe one or two teams and you hoped to win two out of three or sweep the bottom teams. That’s not going to happen this year. Every single game in our division is going to be tough.”
- Lots of live batting practice on the field this morning at George M. Steinbrenner Field as camp continues to move toward game action. Here’s the full list of pitchers who took the mound: Ivan Nova, Joba Chamberlain, Cody Eppley, Bryan Mitchell; Matt Daley, Chase Whitley; Mark Montgomery, Preston Claiborne; Francisco Rondon, Josh Spence; Mike O’Brien, Shane Greene; Corey Black, Kelvin Perez.
- The Yankees had to summon some of their Minor League hitters to work all of those at-bats. Those taking swings were: Slade Heathcott, Luke Murton, Cito Culver, Greg Bird, Kyle Roller, Tyler Austin and Ronnier Mustelier.
- Joe Girardi said that he did not hear anyone had problems with their physicals this morning. The first full squad workout for the Yankees is tomorrow morning.
- The Yankees have their first injury of camp, as infield prospect David Adams will miss a couple of weeks while he deals with a back injury. You may remember Adams as the player that came between the Yankees and the Mariners in the Cliff Lee talks back in July 2010; Adams was said to have a high ankle sprain that the Mariners believed (and was later confirmed) to be an ankle fracture.
- The Yankees may have found a designated hitter against left-handed pitching, at least for early in the season: Derek Jeter. Girardi said that he’d “absolutely” consider giving the captain DH days against southpaws to help rest his ankle, so Eduardo Nunez might want to use this spring to gobble up a few extra reps at shortstop. Travis Hafner will DH against right-handed pitching.
- Speaking of Hafner, it’s part of the notebook on yankees.com, but worth passing along again here. He hasn’t played the field since 2007 with the Indians because of an arthritic throwing elbow, and I asked if he even brings a glove to camp. Hafner said that he gets a shipment of two first basemen’s gloves but usually winds up giving them away. He’s strictly a DH for the Yankees’ purposes, so all he really needs is his bats.