Yankees injury updates: Mark Teixeira nearing return

Jim Rogash

Mark Teixeira could be back at first by next weekend! Brendan Ryan...not so much.

Mark Teixeira has been on the disabled list since straining a hamstring on April 5th, resulting in some shuffling around of the Yankee infield and batting order. While Joe Girardi thought Teixeira should return by May 1st, Teixeira himself is a bit more optimistic. Speaking before Saturday's game against the Red Sox, Teixeira said that he expects to return next Sunday, April 20th, when the Yankees will take on the Rays in Tampa Bay.

Mark Teixeira's injury has led to Kelly Johnson shifting from third to first (and Francisco Cervelli even playing a game at first base) and Yangervis Solarte finding himself the everyday third baseman. While Johnson has played relatively well this season, hitting .258/.324/.581 so far, and Solarte has continued the hot hitting that began in Spring Training by posting a .342 batting average with 7 RBI in ten games, there's no doubt having Teixeira back would help the team. Not only would he replace out-of-position guys like Cervelli and Kelly with a Gold Glover at first, but having Teixeira's bat in the lineup should give the Yankees a power boost, which they sorely need.

While Teixeira may return soon, backup shortstop Brendan Ryan is not anywhere close to making a comeback. The official diagnosis of what is wrong with Ryan is a "cervical spine nerve injury," and Girardi has said he won't play during May at all. Even when he does get back in baseball shape, Girardi said Ryan will have to basically redo Spring Training, since Ryan only got 8 at-bats this spring. That's about six weeks of work after he's medically cleared. So we won't be seeing Ryan anytime soon.

Even though he could be useful as a late-game defensive replacement, with the way Dean Anna and Solarte have been hitting this year, Ryan really won't be missed. Teixeira, however, should give the lineup a boost and let everyone return to their natural infield positions. While I'm not convinced he'll be back next weekend, it sounds like he should be back sooner rather than later.

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