Right hamstring strain forces Teixeira to DL
TORONTO -- Even with all of their offseason remodeling, the Yankees never came up with a concrete plan to prepare for losing Mark Teixeira from their lineup for an extended period of time.
Four games into the regular season, they have been forced to scramble for a "Plan B." Teixeira, who strained his right hamstring in the second inning of the Yankees' 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Friday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday. The Yankees recalled catcher Austin Romine from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Teixeira's spot on the active roster. Teixeira had hoped to avoid the DL, but said Friday that he was "not super optimistic about it."
"I definitely don't want to go on the DL," Teixeira said. "I'm really hoping that [Saturday] morning, I wake up, we go through some stuff with the doctors, and it feels good. But we'll see."
Teixeira is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday in New York. Yankees manager Joe Girardi suggested after the win vs. the Blue Jays that the Yanks' travel schedule -- the team did not make it to Toronto from Houston until 6 a.m. ET on Friday -- may have been a contributing factor for the first baseman's injury.
"It kind of leaves you scrambling a little bit," Girardi said. "Why it happens, and there's always those concerns. Today before the game started, my concern was fatigue for guys. We don't ever know why a guy gets hurt, but I was concerned about tonight."
The injury occurred when Teixeira pursued a foul ball during the second inning, reaching for the back of his right leg. He gestured to the Yankees' dugout and briefly spoke with Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donahue on the field before coming out of the game.
"I knew it was going to be foul, but I went and caught it anyway," Teixeira said. "I just took an awkward step, and when I landed, I felt a grab in my hamstring. It wasn't one of those excruciating, fall-to-the-ground-because-of-the-pain [injuries], but it was significant enough that I knew something was wrong."
Teixeira also strained his right hamstring in Game 4 of the 2010 American League Championship Series, effectively ending his season. At the time, the Yankees estimated a six-to-eight week recovery period, based upon the severity of that Grade 2 strain.
Teixeira said that Friday's injury did not feel as severe, but he is frustrated after being limited to just 15 games last year by a right wrist injury that required season-ending surgery.
"It's just really disappointing, because this whole Spring Training, my legs have felt really good," Teixeira said. "No problems doing anything, and it's just a weird thing."
With Teixeira out of the lineup, Kelly Johnson may be pressed into more duty at first base. Johnson worked out this spring at first base and replaced Teixeira there after Friday's injury, but he spent more time this spring getting reps at third base, where he was expected to be the regular starter in Alex Rodriguez's absence.
"It's day to day," Johnson said. "I'm going to get more comfortable as I play more over there, just like anything. Not too bad. [First base is] a lot more similar to third than it is to second. Getting over there at third and getting to first is not too bad."
The Yankees had Alfonso Soriano take ground balls at first base this spring, but abandoned the experiment, saying that there was not enough time to make him a serviceable option. They also talked about Russ Canzler as a potential backup first-base option this spring; Canzler is at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and is not on the 40-man roster.