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Yankees notebook, 8/20

August 20, 2011

Teixeira reflects on reaching milestone RBI

MINNEAPOLIS — After his two-run double in the ninth inning Friday night gave him three RBIs for the game, Mark Teixeira asked if it got him to the 1,000-RBI mark for his career. Teixeira knew he was close, but said he was not sure of the exact number.

The runs scored by Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson were the 999th and 1,000th driven in by Teixeira in his career, making him the 27th active player to reach the mark.

“That’s a nice number,” Teixeira said. “My whole career, I’ve always just thought of myself as someone who drives in runs. That’s probably the stat I’m most proud of more than anything every year, is being able to drive in 100 runs every year.”

Currently in his ninth Major League season, Teixeira has eclipsed the 100-RBI mark seven times, and he sits just six away from doing it again this year.

Teixeira drove in a career-high 144 runs in 2005 while with the Rangers.

Of the 27 active players to collect 1,000 career RBIs, the Yankees have five on their roster with Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Andruw Jones.

“You almost can’t believe it,” Teixeira said of reaching the mark so quickly. “I’ve always been someone that’s just kind of played every game every year. It’s a grind, it’s never easy, but when you reach something like 1,000 RBIs in only nine years, you look at yourself and say, ‘I’m doing all right. Just keep doing what you’re doing.'”

With 1,306 career RBIs to his credit, Albert Pujols is the only other active player under 32 years old with 1,000 RBIs.

Teixeira also is the fifth active switch-hitter to reach the mark, joining Posada, Chipper Jones, Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran.

“Hopefully, there’s a lot more to come,” Teixeira said.

Asked if he still remembered the first RBI of his career, Teixeira said he did, while noting the irony of how he got it.

“It was left-handed, I had just gotten my first hit the at-bat before,” Teixeira said. “I rolled over a ball in the [hole between first and second]. So now [with the shift most teams employ against him], it would be an out. As funny and sad at the same time it is, I would’ve been out and I wouldn’t have gotten that RBI.”

Laffey excited about joining Yankees

MINNEAPOLIS — A day after the Yankees claimed him off waivers from the Mariners, left-hander Aaron Laffey joined the club Saturday afternoon at Target Field.

Laffey said it has been a busy week for him since being designated for assignment on Wednesday by Seattle and claimed just days later by New York.

“‘Crazy’ I think is the best word to describe it,” Laffey said. “Really, since it happened, I haven’t been able to stop and think about anything. I’ve been helping my wife get the house packed and get everything in order for that, so this is the first time — the plane ride — I’ve actually got to sit back and relax. Just excited to have the opportunity to play with a contender for the first time I came up in ’07.”

Laffey broke into the big leagues with the Indians in 2007, spending 1 1/2 seasons as CC Sabathia’s teammate before Sabathia was traded to the Brewers. Sabathia was one of a handful of veteran pitchers that Laffey has credited with helping him develop as a pitcher.

“Sabathia was one of the guys in Cleveland who, when I came up, took me under his wing,” Laffey said. “I was able to play with him and guys like [Carl] Pavano and Cliff Lee that were there, too, over the years that I was. They had a lot of great talent and seasoned veterans in Major League Baseball. So I think that’s really helped me.”

In his first year with Cleveland, Laffey was a part of the Indians club that won the Division Series in four games over the Yankees before losing to the Red Sox in seven games in the American League Championship Series.

Laffey said he was excited to be back in the middle of a playoff race.

He also said his father, Steve, was a “big-time fan” of the Yankees while growing up in Maryland.

“It’s just an honor to be in the same organization,” Laffey said.

“It’s definitely a storied tradition here. They’re in it every year. Every little kid wants to grow up and be a New York Yankee. Being a little kid, I dreamed of growing up and being a New York Yankee.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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