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Teixeira happy it's May

Teixeira happy it's May
NEW YORK ? Nobody had to tell Mark Teixeira to tear April off his calendar with the passing of the month.

He probably ripped it off.

Teixeira, a traditionally doesn't hit well in the first month of the season, and his first month as a Yankee wasn't much different.

Except it was worse.

A career .290 hitter, the new Yankee first baseman had hit .250 in Aprils. In pinstripes, however, he hit .200, with three home runs and 10 runs batted in. Go ahead and boo, Yankee fans, Teixeira knows he deserves it.

"They have every right to be upset," Teixeira said Friday night before the Yankees' first game in May, against the Angels.

The fans exercised that right on Thursday night. After Teixeira doubled in the first inning for his first hit in 10 at-bats, he hit into a double play to end a rally and took a called third strike with the bases loaded to end the eighth-inning comeback that produced a 7-4 Yankees victory.

"If the fans are upset, I'm not doing the job," he said. "I deserved to be booed. I would boo myself. These are the best fans in Baseball. I want them to be passionate."

That's why Teixeira takes extra batting practice, watches tapes of his at-bats, studies videos of opposing pitchers. He has a passion to help his new team and silence anybody who doubts he's not worth the big free agent contract the Yankees gave him in the off-season.

"I've tried everything, but it seems like every April it doesn't work," said Teixeira.

At least history is on his side.

Over the last five seasons he ranked third in the majors in extra-base hits (379), fourth in RBI (592), tied for sixth in homers (177) and ranked 10th in doubles (194). He's one of only three players to reach 30 homers and 100 RBI in each of the past five seasons, joining Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. His 203 homers were the most by any switch-hitter in his first six seasons. Only Pujols (250) hit more homers in his first six seasons among active players.

No wonder Yankee manager Joe Girardi isn't overly concerned about Teixeira's usual slow start.

When it was mentioned that he hadn't gotten much from Teixeira so far, Girardi answered: "We haven't gotten anything from Alex [the injured Rodriguez] either."

Still, the Yankees began May only two games behind in the American League East standings. Without much from Teixeira and nothing from Rodriguez, the Yankees are receiving reliable hitting from Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher, and now Melky Cabrera.

The Yankees can wait on Teixeira.

"You feel pretty good about your offense when one slugger isn't here and another has yet to get going and you're still putting up good numbers," Girardi said.

Girardi is convinced Teixeira will soon put up better numbers.

"I've seen signs [of improvement]," said the manager. "Teix won't make any excuses, but he had an injury earlier. Because of his [sore] wrist, he couldn't do everything he does, and guys like him are very routine-orientated."

That routine includes working on other facets of his game. Teixeira, who entered Friday hitting .313 right-handed and .167 left-handed, had drawn a team-high 17 walks and had been playing a Gold Glove-caliber first base.

"I take a lot of pride in my defense," he said. "If I'm not hitting, I won't let it affect me in the field."

Especially now.

"April is behind him," Girardi said. "May will be much better."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 3, 2009

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