The Yankees needing a healthy and productive Mark Teixeira in 2014 is a point that no longer needs to be made. We know how important he is and how valuable he can be when he's healthy, and we don't know how healthy or productive he'll be this season at age 34. The uncertainty surrounding the last part of that sentence is going to remain until we see him on the field again playing every day, and the latest news on his rehab from wrist surgery doesn't read as encouraging.
According to a report by Bryan Hoch yesterday, Teix is still feeling some stiffness in the surgically-repaired wrist. He's been continuing his strengthening exercises and has graduated to hitting off a tee recently, but he's still looking at February for live batting practice and an early March date for returning to game action.
That Teix is going to miss the first week of ST games hardly comes as a concern if you remember back to his "Yankees Hot Stove" appearance in November. That his wrist is still feeling stiffness and discomfort does come as a concern considering how early in his "baseball activity" rehab schedule he is. If the wrist is stiffening up on him during tee time, how's it going to respond when he starts taking real BP? How's it going to feel when he starts playing in games and hitting and throwing regularly every day?
Teix himself could only offer an "I hope so" when asked if he'll be 100% physically by Opening Day. Having seen what happened with The Captain last year when he tried to push for an unrealistic Opening Day return date, the Yankees need to closely monitor Teix and how his wrist is feeling when spring camp starts. No sense in pushing it if he's not ready.