Teixeira out eight to 10 weeks with wrist strain
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees' injury-riddled spring took another serious hit on Wednesday, when the team announced that Gold Glove first baseman Mark Teixeira will miss eight to 10 weeks with a strained tendon in his right wrist.
Teixeira was evaluated in New York on Wednesday by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and specialist Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser. Teixeira has been advised to have four weeks of complete rest and will not rejoin the Yankees in Florida this spring.
"It's not what you want, but it's what you've got to deal with," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's life."
Teixeira was diagnosed with an ECU tendon sprain, an injury similar to the one Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista sustained last season at Yankee Stadium. General manager Brian Cashman said that surgery is not expected to be required in Teixeira's case.
Teixeira reported that he felt "a pop" in the wrist while hitting off a tee with Team USA's World Baseball Classic squad on Tuesday in Glendale, Ariz., which raised red flags throughout the Yankees hierarchy.
An initial MRI performed in Arizona suggested that Teixeira would miss a minimum of two weeks, but tests in New York revealed the deeper severity of the strain.
With Teixeira expected to be out until the middle of May, the Yankees suddenly have a new lineup outage to contemplate, having already lost slugger Curtis Granderson for 10 weeks to a fractured right forearm.
"Two of the guys that you probably expected to hit in the middle won't be there Opening Day," Girardi said.
It is apparent that the Opening Day lineup will not resemble anything close to the one that slugged a franchise-record 245 homers in 2012. Of the 10 players who slugged double-digit homers last season, only second baseman Robinson Cano seems a sure bet to be on the field when the season begins on April 1.
"I think we can win without the power," Granderson said earlier on Wednesday, before the severity of Teixeira's injury was known. "The power has always been something that you have, and it's a great luxury to have it, but you've got to go ahead and manufacture and score runs when you can.
"We still have pieces that can move in to allow us to win ballgames without having to hit as many home runs, and those guys can hit home runs. It's not like we're completely shut out in that category."
In the meantime, the Yankees must try to the patch holes as best as they can. Girardi and Cashman said that although they'd prefer to keep Kevin Youkilis at third base, they will evaluate first basemen and third basemen as the spring continues, since Youkilis has played both infield corners.
"He provides flexibility," Cashman said. "The problem is, if you move Youk, we need someone to play third. Youk can do first, it's a layup, he's great at it. But we'd need a third baseman, that's the problem."
The Yankees have been taking a look at Dan Johnson -- a 33-year-old veteran who hasn't played more than 40 games in any big league season since 2007 -- at the infield corners, though Girardi said that if Johnson is the answer, he would probably play first base so Youkilis could stick at third.
"Third base is difficult," Cashman said. "First base is always an easier position to fill than third."
The Yankees could also consider Jayson Nix or Eduardo Nunez at third base, and although the Yankees have seemed reluctant to move Nunez from shortstop after last year's failed utility-man experiment, Girardi said that he is ready to consider "everyone who's in camp."
Non-roster invitee Juan Rivera has also played some first base, including 54 games last season with the Dodgers, but Cashman said that the Yankees look at him more as an outfielder. Cashman also ruled out the idea that Travis Hafner -- who has not played the field since 2007 -- would do anything other than serve as a designated hitter, given his lengthy injury history.
"He's a field-goal kicker, which is fine," Cashman said. "I know what I got, and I want him to be that, but he hasn't picked up a glove in seven years. I'm not making fun of him, he's just someone that is an amazing hitter, but he has a history of injuries. We're not going to put him in position, by trying to put a glove on him, to get him hurt. He's our DH."
In an unscriptable sequence of events, Cashman was discussing the fallout of Teixeira's injury from a wheelchair parked in the center of the clubhouse, sporting eight screws and a plate in his right ankle as a lasting souvenir of his charity skydiving jump this week with the U.S. Army Golden Knights.
You can't make it up: It has been that kind of spring for the Yankees, and there are more than three weeks to go. Cashman said that he and his staff must use the rest of that time to evaluate who they have in camp, as well as to make phone calls and explore the "potential casualties from other camps."
The GM did not mince words, however, about a general lack of optimism that they will be able to find better options outside the organization than what they already have assembled.
"It's not the time of year to make any moves," Cashman said. "Usually, movement takes place after [June's First-Year Player] Draft unless people are trying to cut garbage."
For better or for worse, this may be the group the Yankees bring into battle, hoping to super-glue the roster together until better health and fortune are ready to come around.
"You've got to find a way," Girardi said. "That's our job, to find a way to win games, and we'll do that. We'll just have to do it without Tex and Grandy for a little bit."