Posts Tagged ‘Mark Teixeira’

Yankees notebook, 8/20

August 20, 2011 Comments off

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 This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hughes, Martin power Yanks to victory

August 19, 2011 Comments off

MINNEAPOLIS — If he keeps pitching the way he has lately, Phil Hughes could play a huge role for the Yankees down the stretch. At the very least, he is going to make it difficult for manager Joe Girardi to decide which starter to take out to get back to a five-man rotation.

Hughes dominated the Twins on Friday, backed by a pair of Russell Martin home runs, as the Yankees cruised to an 8-1 victory at Target Field, maintaining their half-game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East.

“I thought he mixed his pitches tremendously,” Girardi said. “He used all his pitches tonight.

“And all his pitches have been consistent, [that] is the biggest difference for me.”

After giving up a solo home run to Trevor Plouffe, the second batter he faced, Hughes did not allow another hit until the eighth inning. Hughes issued a leadoff walk in the second before retiring the next 14 batters in a row.

Overall, Hughes retired 22 of 27 batters faced.

“I just tried to stay aggressive, and it seemed like they were as well,” Hughes said. “It kind of played to my advantage, and I got a lot of quick outs. I made a couple mistakes, but I got away with most of them. The only one that really hurt me was Plouffe in the first inning.”

Plouffe also walked in the seventh inning, and he joined Jason Kubel as the only two Twins hitters to reach base twice in the game.

They were the only Twins to reach base until Twins infielder Luke Hughes singled in the eighth.

“I think he was establishing his fastball early and getting ahead of hitters, and then mixing in his cutter,” Plouffe said. “I think a lot of his pitches come in at the same arm angle, so that’s what makes him tough. He was just getting ahead and throwing strikes tonight.”

As Hughes went 7 2/3 innings with two strikeouts and three walks, it marked the first time this season the right-hander has tossed a pitch in the seventh or eighth innings. Hughes had previously pitched six innings in a start four times, including in his last outing, against the Rays.

After Hughes struggled through his first three starts of the season, he was placed on the disabled list with arm fatigue. Before going on the DL, Hughes was 0-1 with a 13.94 ERA.

Since returning in July, Hughes has been steadily progressing, with his best start of the season coming Friday night against the Twins.

“Sometimes it takes a while to get a feel when you haven’t pitch for a while, to get all your pitches,” Girardi said. “You’re trying to go through rehab starts and you get two innings, and then you get three innings. It’s hard to get a feel for a lot of your pitches when you’re only doing that. But it just seems like he’s got a much better feel.”

Martin connected for his 14th homer of the season in the third, a solo shot off Twins starter Kevin Slowey, and added a two-run blast in the sixth.

With his fourth career multi-homer game — three of which have come with the Yankees — Martin has hit three home runs in the last two games after hitting just two over his previous 34 games.

“I just kind of simplified my approach,” Martin said. “Just kind of going up there and just swinging the bat hard and trying to see the ball. See the ball, hit the ball. That’s really all I’ve been doing.”

The Yankees also scored in the fourth and fifth innings, with second baseman Robinson Cano coming up with the biggest hit of the game aside from Martin’s blasts.

Following a leadoff double by Mark Teixeira in the fourth, Cano crushed a 2-2 curveball to the gap and off the right-field wall. Teixeira scored the go-ahead run on the play, and the Yankees added on a pair of runs in each of the next two innings to give Hughes plenty of support.

In the fifth, Brett Gardner scored on a double down the right-field line by Curtis Granderson, and Derek Jeter added the second run of the inning, courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Teixeira, with Jeter sliding in just ahead of the tag by Joe Mauer at the plate.

Slowey, whose night was ended by Martin’s second home run, allowed six runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and a walk over 5 2/3 innings.

After Gardner was the only member of the Yankees’ starting lineup without a hit Thursday night, Eric Chavez earned that honor Friday.

Teixeira added a two-run double in the ninth to finish with three RBIs, putting him at 1,000 RBIs for his career. He is the 27th active player to reach that mark.

While his batting average is down this year at just .252, Teixeira now has 94 RBIs, two shy of Granderson for the team lead.

“I’d love to have a higher average, no doubt,” Teixeira said. “But at the end of the day, if I can drive in a lot of runs, that’s what’s best for my team in the middle of the order.”

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

Homers help CC snatch up win No. 17

August 18, 2011 Comments off

MINNEAPOLIS — CC Sabathia had no idea if it was fair or foul. Joe Girardi thought it looked foul from his vantage point. But Mark Teixeira was not surprised it was initially called fair.

For the second straight night, the Yankees had an opponent’s home run reviewed, and this time, the call went in their favor as it was ruled to be just a long foul ball for Justin Morneau. Taking two runs off the board in the first inning, it was a big call that helped the Yankees on their way to an 8-4 victory Thursday night at Target Field.

“Oh, a huge break,” Teixeira said of the call. “Two runs in the first inning against a good pitcher, that could’ve given them some momentum. And I’m always a big believer that if you give CC a lead, he’s going to hold it. Because of that, we were able to get him a lead in the next couple innings, and he held it.”

As he picked up his 17th victory of the season, Sabathia helped the Yankees maintain their half-game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East.

Teixeira did note, though, that when a ball is hit as high as Morneau’s was, it really is difficult to tell whether it is a home run. He said that he hits a few like that every year that go over the foul pole, and always land foul.

“The more you look at it, the more you think it’s foul, but it could’ve easily been fair,” Teixeira said. “Who knows, but unless they have some sort of special replay where you can extend the foul pool, it’s really just a guess. I wasn’t surprised that they called it fair, because it’s really just a guess.”

Morneau also thought it went over the foul pole. But not only did he not get a two-run home run on the play, Sabathia came back to strike him out to end the inning.

After falling behind in the count 1-0, the overturned home run made it 1-1, and Sabathia got Morneau to swing and miss three pitches later for the strikeout.

“I thought he threw him some really good sliders there,” Girardi said. “As a hitter, it’s frustrating because you think you got a home run and then the next thing you know, you’re sitting down.”

The Yankees took their first lead of the game in the next inning. And though they gave it back in the bottom half, Teixeira put the Yankees on top for good in the third.

After center fielder Curtis Granderson led off with a triple, Texeira followed by driving a 2-0 changeup from Brian Duensing into the second deck in left field, his 33rd home run of the season.

Teixeira then led off the fifth with a double, setting up the Yankees’ fourth set of back-to-back home runs on the season, and the first since Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada did it on June 26 against the Rockies.

Swisher hit the first one, a two-run shot that just cleared the fence in left field for his 15th of the year. Andruw Jones followed with his eighth of the season, a no-doubter into the third deck at Target Field.

“Dude, I can’t even hit a 3-wood like that,” Swisher said of Jones’ towering home run, which was estimated at 434 feet.

“I really didn’t see where it landed,” Jones said. “When I hit it, I knew I hit a homer, so I dropped my head down and just kept running the bases.”

Duensing lasted just five innings, giving up six runs on 10 hits with a walk and a strikeout.

“They have very good pitch selection. They’re very aware of the zone,” Duensing said. “Tonight, I was behind in the count a lot, and up in the zone a lot. When you’re behind and up at the same time, it takes away the advantage from the pitcher and gives them the advantage.”

Three long balls from the middle of the Yankees’ order gave Sabathia plenty of support, and though he struggled a bit, the left-hander pitched well enough to win.

Sabathia was hit hard in his first time through the lineup, but settled in and retired the next nine in a row and 13 of 16. The Yankees’ ace went seven innings against the Twins, allowing four runs — three earned — on 10 hits with nine strikeouts and one walk.

The Twins made things interesting with a pair of runs in the seventh, but Sabathia retired Joe Mauer, Morneau and Jim Thome in order to get out of the jam, stranding a pair of runners.

“I thought in the middle of the game I felt good,” Sabathia said. “I was making pitches, I was [throwing] downhill. It just kind of got away from me there in the last inning.”

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