The New York Yankees' biggest loss of the day did not come on the field, but at a doctor's office. Regular first baseman Mark Teixeira was forced from Team USA and the World Baseball Classic due to "forearm discomfort," and further examination by the Yankees' medical staff revealed the injury to be far worse than that:
Teixeira will be out 8-10 weeks with the strained wrist. Was more severe than they expected.— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) March 6, 2013
teixeira has no tear. the tendon is "stable.'' but he needs 4 weeks off plus 4 weeks rehab. #yankees— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 6, 2013
Officially, it's a strained ECU tendon for the medical folks out there. Yippie! That removes another Yankee from the Opening Day lineup for April 1st against the Boston Red Sox. Alex Rodriguez was long-gone, Curtis Granderson was lost in one of the first Spring Training games, and now their first baseman is missing as well. Derek Jeter is still not a guarantee either, though he's reportedly on track to make it.
Where does leave the Yankee' Opening Day lineup? Nowhere fancy or anywhere near the 2012 Opening Day lineup, that's for damn sure. The options for replacements are not great right now. Dan Johnson is an option at first, and that could very well be what the Yanks end up doing since why would he even be invited to camp otherwise? His lefty power could fit Yankee Stadium well. Righty Juan Rivera entered camp as an outfield option, but he has spent 92 games as a first baseman over his last two seasons, so he could also be a possibility. I wasn't thinking of it, but Mark Feinsand reported that DH Travis Hafner is not an option, as well he shouldn't be since he's brittle enough and hasn't played in the field in years (same goes for free agent Jim Thome, remember when the Philadelphia Phillies tried that trick at the beginning of last year in a failed attempt to replace Ryan Howard?).
Other available free agent first basemen are Carlos Lee and Aubrey Huff. The Yankees showed interest in Lee late last season, but he blocked a trade to New York. He'll be 37 in June, and he hit .264/.332/.365 with a 90 OPS+ in a season split with the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins (and he rejected a trade why?). Those numbers aren't very comforting, especially for a righty coming into Yankee Stadium, so how about the lefty Huff? He's a year younger, but chronic knee injuries really cut into his performance last year with the San Francisco Giants ( 52 games, .192/.326/.282 with a 77 OPS+). Maybe some time off has made him healthy, who knows? As long time listener pointed out, how much do you want to bet that Johnny Damon has offered to play first?
Kevin Youkilis could always go across the diamond and play first for however long Tex is out, and that would not be a terrible idea since he's a great fielder there and they need to keep Youk healthy as well (Good luck.) Of course that would also necessitate using a different third baseman. Johnson has been terrible at third base in Spring Training so far, Corban Joseph probably needs more work there, David Adams still has not played due to an injured back, and Jayson Nix is not a starter. Ronnier Mustelier has played 26 of his 146 minor league games at third, perhaps they could try him to get his bat in the lineup?
There's always the option of a trade, but who would you acquire? (Please no convoluted Chase Headley trade ideas...)What would they want in return knowing the Yankees' current desperate state? David Phelps? One of the highly-touted low-minors prospects? It doesn't seem worth giving up a possibly important part of the team's future for a Band-Aid, but we shall see.
UPDATE: Fantastic update... Joey Bats appeared in two games after July 16th last year. If this turns out to be a lingering half-year injury, 2013 could get ugly in a hurry. Fans seem to take Tex's Gold Glove defense and annually high slugging percentage for granted. Yes, he makes a high salary, but he still provides value. He's not "just a .250 hitter." Now we will see what life without him will be like, and for who knows how long?
Cashman said he was told Teixeira's injury is similar to the one Jose Bautista suffered last year. Which is, um, concerning.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughSL) March 6, 2013