(More swings like this, please. Courtesy of Getty Images)
2013 was already going to be an important year for Mark Teixeira. After a stellar Yankee debut season in 2009, the last three have been a downhill trend of offensive regression and 2013 was shaping up to be the tipping point for the rest of Teix's Yankee career. He could either bounce back and prove that he still had enough in the tank to be a consistent middle-of-the-order threat, or continue his decline, officially enter the downside of his career, and become the latest contract anchor on the payroll.
Teix's comments to Dan Barbarisi a few weeks ago showed that he was very aware that he had reached this stage in his career, and his candor and openness about his regression was refreshing to read in a modern sports world full of excuses and cliches. But that position became much less acceptable when A-Rod had his surgery and even more unacceptable when Curtis Granderson was shelved over the weekend. Teix is now more important than ever to the lineup and the Yankees' chances for success this season, a point Mike Axisa touched on earlier in the week. After spending four years flying under the radar in the Bronx, the spotlight is going to shine brighter on Teix than it ever has, and he needs to step up and meet the challenge.