Healthy body is powerful feeling for Teixeira
No longer bothered by wrist injury, Yanks slugger enjoying strong show at plate
SEATTLE -- The power has returned to Mark Teixeira's stroke after a year lost to frustration and nagging discomfort, and as the Yankees slugger circled the bases in yet another trot on Monday, he sees the potential for this to be a very special season.
Teixeira hit a fifth-inning grand slam off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in the Yankees' 7-2 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field. It marked Teixeira's 15th home run of the season, coming after a right wrist injury limited him to 22 homers all of last year.
"I'm just very thankful," Teixeira said. "I'm very thankful for the health and I just hope that continues. The first two months have been so far, so good. I want to continue it."
As the Yankees hoped he would, Teixeira appears to have come back stronger the second year after having surgery to address a damaged tendon sheath. Of Teixeira's 40 hits this season, 24 have gone for extra bases (nine doubles), and he owns a team-leading 39 RBIs to go along with a .241/.358/.566 split line.
"We knew he was capable of doing these type of things when he's healthy, but 15 homers at this time is an awful lot of homers," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's on pace for 45, and that's a lot, but anything Mark does doesn't really surprise me. He's a great RBI guy. He just knows how to drive in runs, and that's what he's done for us."
Teixeira has also enjoyed a nice track record of success against Hernandez; Monday's grand slam marked Teixeira's sixth career homer off Hernandez, against whom he has hit at a .303 (20-for-66) clip.
"I think it's a lot of luck. He's a great pitcher," Teixeira said. "I've faced him so much, there's very few guys that for 10-plus years you face on a regular basis. He's one of them. I've just gotten a couple good pitches to hit."
Teixeira has often commented that his goals for each season are 30 homers and 100 RBIs, levels that he has not reached since 2011. As June begins, Teixeira appears to be in good position to make a run at those objectives, and he isn't complaining.
"There are some weird stats out there this early," Teixeira said. "It's still early. Fifty games into the season, you see some weird stats. For me, if I stay healthy, I know what the numbers are going to look like at the end of the year."