Teixeira: Wrist surgery 'doesn't look necessary'
JUPITER, Fla. -- It could have been worse. The timing could have been worse and the injury could have been worse for Mark Teixeira. That doesn't mean the Yankees' first baseman isn't disappointed.
Teixeira spoke with reporters via conference call on Thursday, his first public comments (save for two Twitter posts) since suffering a strained tendon in his right wrist on Tuesday. He explained that he came down with the injury while performing routine pre-batting practice work.
"I've been swinging with a weighted bat off the tee for the past probably four years now, just because I feel like it keeps me strong," Teixeira said. "It really loosens me up. I was swinging with my weighted bat, and it was the fifth or sixth swing off the tee before batting practice on Tuesday, and I just felt something kind of tighten up in my wrist. I went into the training room right afterward."
Teixeira took some solace in the fact that the injury will not require surgery. It also helps, at least somewhat, that he got hurt in March, rather than a month later, since the first four weeks of Teixeira's rehabilitation will occur during Grapefruit League play.
Though there was some initial hope that the injury might only cause Teixeira to miss a few days, he will instead be out approximately eight to 10 weeks. That would put him on track for a return to action by mid-May, a timetable that Teixeira admitted is flexible.
"[Surgery] doesn't look like it's necessary," he said. "It's just a strain. The doctors told me it's a classic baseball injury -- an overuse injury where I have to let it heal. It's not one of those things I can play through. I can't play at 70 or 80 percent, because then you'd have the opportunity of completely tearing it, and then you will need surgery. That's why we have the conservative timetable of eight to 10 weeks, because we really don't know exactly how long it's going to take, but it has to heal fully."
Teixeira said he plans to keep working out in every way he can, remaining at the Yankees' complex in Tampa. As a result, he hopes that once he can begin swinging a bat, the return to full baseball shape should be a relatively quick process.
"I'm starting workouts today," he said. "I went to the doctor this morning to get a special cast that I can work out in. It's removable. I'll be doing all kinds of cardio. I can start swinging with a one-handed bat soon. Taking ground balls soon. We're going to let it calm down for a week or two, and then once that calms down, I'll be on the field in my cleats, running the bases and taking grounders and swinging with one hand. I'm definitely not going to let my body get out of shape."
The plan is for Teixeira to get to a point where his wrist is completely symptom-free before he begins swinging a bat. Thus, it is hoped that once he returns, the maintenance required on the joint will be minimal.
"I'm going to start taping my wrist," he said. "I've never really been someone who wanted to tape my wrists. I started taping my left wrist last year because of the little nagging thing I had last year with it. But I'll start taping my right wrist, and the doctor also told me to stop swinging the weighted bat. I swing twice as much as anybody as it is, and this is just one of those overuse injuries, unfortunately."