Mark Teixeira is confident the New York Yankees can overcome key injuries likely to impact the team through the first month of the regular season.
The first baseman will be out until at least early May with a strained right wrist tendon, the latest major setback for the Yankees. New York outfielder Curtis Granderson broke his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch Feb. 24, and also will be sidelined until early May.
”It’s going to be more of a challenge now that both of us are down, but I have full confidence that the guys coming in are going to be able to step in,” Teixeira said during a conference call on Thursday.
Teixeira felt tightness swinging a weighted bat left-handed off a tee Tuesday in an indoor cage during pregame warm-ups with the U.S. team for the World Baseball Classic.
”It’s really weird … it’s the same thing I do every day,” said Teixeira, who will no longer use the weighted bat.
Teixeira expects to resume limited drills – swinging a bat-one handed and fielding grounders – in the next week or two.
”It’s very disappointing,” Teixeira said. ”The only good thing is that it’s March. I have plenty of time to get healthy and hopefully have as long of a season as I can. We’re not exactly sure how long it’s going to take, but better to get hurt now than April 5.”
He said surgery will not be required.
”The problem is, the doctors told me it’s a classic baseball injury,” Teixeira said. ”An overuse injury where I just have to let it heal. It’s not one of those things I can play through. I can’t play at 70 or 80 percent because you have the opportunity of completely tearing it and then you will need surgery.”
The Yankees don’t appear likely to move Kevin Youkilis from third to first. Youkilis was signed in December to fill in for third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who will be out until at least the All-Star break after left hip surgery in January.
Youkilis said he’s willing to play wherever he’s needed.
”Put me out there and I’ll go play,” Youkilis said. ”I just want to win. Whatever is going to make the team win is where I’m going to play.”
Youkilis believes the Yankees can overcome the loss of power at the plate. Granderson, Teixeira and Rodriguez combined for 85 homers last season.
”I’ve seen a lot of talk about the home runs and losing all the home runs,” Youkilis said. ”It was a funny thing, (I said today) I’m going to go check out the Giants, the World Series champions, and they had 103 total home runs last year. I played on a team last year with six guys hitting over 20 home runs, the White Sox, and we didn’t make the playoffs.”
Several other Yankees, including shortstop Derek Jeter (ankle surgery), ace CC Sabathia (left elbow bone spur surgery) and closer Mariano Rivera (knee surgery) are coming back from injuries.
Jeter, who had a day off Thursday, hasn’t run the bases at full speed yet. The team captain expects to be ready for the season opener April 1 against Boston
Sabathia, the expected opening-day starter, threw a 49-pitch bullpen session and is scheduled for a simulated game Sunday.
The left-hander said he is pleased with how well his elbow has responded.
”I am surprised how quick it came back once I started throwing,” Sabathia said. ”Getting stronger every time out and not feeling any pain is encouraging.”
Rivera, expected to announce Saturday that he’ll retire after this season, could make his first spring training appearance this weekend.
Right-hander Phil Hughes made 15 pitches from 60 feet on level ground during his fourth throwing session after being sidelined two weeks by an upper back bulging disk.
Reliever David Robertson, scratched from his outing Tuesday night because of a sore shoulder, played catch. Left-hander Boone Logan, slowed by a tender elbow, resumed throwing and made 38 throws from up to 60 feet.