The New York Yankees fear first baseman Mark Teixeira aggravated a leg injury in an ill-fated sprint to first base, and the severity of his strained left calf will determine if he returns to play this season.
Teixeira returned Saturday night from a 10-day absence, then hurt himself on the final play of New York’s 5-4 loss to Baltimore.
Asked Sunday if he envisioned Teixeira playing anytime soon, Yankees manager Joe Girardi replied: "No, I don’t think he’ll be a player for us. I’d be surprised, but we’ll just have to wait and see."
Teixeira is expected to have an MRI on Monday. If his calf is in the same condition as two weeks ago, then his return this season will be in question.
"That would be worst case scenario," the first baseman said. "I will have to make sure it is a little more healed than when I came back this time."
Teixeira acknowledged that he rushed back too soon.
"I’ve got to be a little smarter with it. I just wasn’t ready," he said. "I thought I could play on it at 80 percent and I couldn’t do it. So when I come back next time, whatever it’s going to be, I am going to make sure it’s better than 80. It’s not going to be 100 percent, we know that."
Teixeira is apprehensive about what the exam on Monday.
"We will see what the MRI shows," he said. "Make sure there was no other injury or anything. It definitely worries you some."
The Yankees had runners at the corners with one out in the ninth Saturday night when Teixeira hit a grounder to second. After the force at second, he made a headfirst dive into first base in an effort to beat the relay.
"I think that’s when he really felt it," Girardi said. "He busted his rear end to get down there. It’s unfortunate."
Especially because replays showed Teixeira beat the throw.
"All game it didn’t feel right, but when I had to bust it down the line on that last play, it wasn’t going to let me go," Teixeria said.
Steve Pearce was at first base for the Yankees on Sunday in their 13-3 win over Baltimore. Girardi said New York, which is one game ahead of the Orioles in the AL East, will simply have to proceed without Teixeira.
"We missed him for 10 games. Now we’re going to miss him for more," Girardi said. "We need other guys to pick up the slack."
The Yankees were careful not to rush Teixeira back into the lineup, but their patience went unrewarded.
"He said he was ready to go Friday. But I didn’t play him Friday. I waited until Saturday," Girardi said. "And I do believe he was ready to go. But I think he got in a crazy play and it just happened again."
Teixeira isn’t the Yankees’ only concern. CC Sabathia gave up three homers Saturday night and has experienced a drop in velocity. The big left-hander and Girardi contend he is healthy, and there appears to be no real explanation for his struggles of late.
"Could be innings over his career. He’s logged in a lot of innings over his career," Girardi said. "I mean, that’s the only thing I can point to. How many years in a row did he go 250 innings?"