Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Should The Yankees Rest Mark Teixeira?

Normally you would answer "no" to that question about a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman who currently has 30 HRs and 101 RBIs, but given Teix's recent injuries and his struggles at the plate in September, it may be something the Yanks should consider down the stretch.

Teix was a monster through the dog days of summer, putting up a .344/.462/.698 tripleslash in July with 18 XBH, 20 RBIs, and a 1.667/1 BB/K ratio and then following it up with a .289/.355/.629 line in August with 15 XBH and 21 RBIs.  But on August 31 Teix suffered a broken toe and his numbers have been in a steady decline since then through the month of September, in which he is only hitting .185/.325/.215 with only 2 XBH (neither of which are HRs) and 6 RBIs.  Add in the recent bone bruise to his thumb and the current 0-15 mini-slump he's in, and it's a safe bet that despite him saying he is fine and wants to play through the pain, Teix is being greatly affected by these injuries.

So what should be done with him?  Obviously neither injury is season or career-threatening and neither seems like the type of thing that can get any worse, but the added stress on the thumb and toe from playing every day will surely cause them to drag on longer and continue to affect Teix's performance.  The Yanks aren't paying $180 million to set regular season RBI records or anything like that.  They need him for the postseason and they need him at his best.  Joe already worked in a few off days for him, but the more time he has to rest, the quicker those injuries are going to heal, especially the bruise, which is almost certainly affecting his swing more than the toe.

Given that the Yankees are going to end this current Tampa series still ahead in the division thanks to their 2 straight wins, and in the process have shaved their postseason magic number to 3 games, it might be in their best interests to give Teix a week or so off.  One more win in these last 2 games and they end the series up 2.5, and Boston could be eliminated from contention by the time they face the Yankees this weekend, so there will really be no reason to keep him in the lineup.  With Berkman, Thames, Jorge, Cervelli, Swisher, Kearns, and Juan Miranda, the Yankees have plenty of depth and flexibility to be able to cover the 1B and DH spots in his absence, and the rest should at the very least help him get over the bruise in the thumb.

Joe has had no problem giving A-Rod and Jorge extra days off here and there throughout the season to help them get over bumps and bruises and keep them fresh, and he just recently held Gardner and Swish out for games to let them rest up, so why not do the same with Teix?  He is just as important to the team's success as any of those other guys, in fact he's probably more important.  If it were me, I wouldn't have him in the lineup for the rest of the week, but now that the Yanks have a chance to clinch a playoff berth and all but bury Tampa over the next 2 games, I could see why Joe would want him out there.  If the Yanks do win 1 or both of the next 2 games, though, Teix should be sat immediately and given time to heal.


From LoHud's pregame report:

"Before Girardi’s pregame media gathering, Teixeira told him he was feeling pretty good. But Girardi hasn’t ruled out resting him for three or four days once the Yankees clinch a postseason berth."

Did I call it or did I call it?  3 or 4?  Don't be afraid to give him a week if he needs it, Joe.  But that's not the point.  The point is I'm a goddamn genius and there's the proof.

That's What We've Been Missing

- A starting pitcher making it through the 6th inning and beyond and limiting the other team's offensive output despite not having his best stuff.

- Shutdown work in a tight situation from a key member of the bullpen.

- 5-10 with RISP from the starting lineup.

- 7 2-out RBIs.

All the things the Yankees hadn't been doing lately they did last night and were rewarded with another win, another game up in the standings, and another 2 games chopped off both magic numbers.  I guess shit actually works out when you play your A-lineup.