Six months removed from wrist surgery that ended his season in 2013, Mark Teixeira is still expected to miss the first few spring training games with the Yankees after the team reports to Tampa for exhibition games next month. According to MLB.com's Yankee beat writer Bryan Hoch, Teixeira is still experiencing a bit of stiffness in his surgically repaired wrist while swinging off a tee and continued strengthening exercise.
The fact that this injury first occurred during spring training last year when Teixeira was taking batting practice for Team USA before the World Baseball Classic and is expected to carry over into 2014 spring training is kind of concerning, but maybe par for the course for wrist injuries. Hoch reports that Teixeira will start hitting full-speed pitches next month and expects that he'll be able to get into spring training games by the first week of March. In the grand scheme of things, missing a week of spring training exhibition games is nothing. The real concern is how much this injury will impact Teixeira over the course of the 162-game season.
Teixeira and his doctor expect that the wrist will begin to loosen back up into game shape with more regular use, hopefully indicating that Teixeira will continue to improve as the season progresses even if he isn't 100% back to normal on Opening Day. The Yankees got a glimpse of life without Teixeira last year when Lyle Overbay was the recipient of the vast majority of Teixeira's playing time at first base despite struggling for large portions of the season. With Overbay recently inking a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, the backup first base job is still in question. The answer, whoever it may be, will likely not be someone who can boost the offense the way a healthy Teixeira can.
Wrist injuries are notoriously finicky and their effects can linger for a long, long time. If Teixeira missing one week of spring training games is the only residual impact on the 2014 squad, that will have to be considered a success. However, if this is only the first sign of a long season of flare ups and struggles from Teixeira as he tries to get his wrist back to where it was pre-injury, it could be another long season for the offensive production out of Yankees first basemen.
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