Back to full health, Teixeira's power resurgence continues
Yanks first baseman says gluten-free diet helps him feel better, work out harder
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira's gluten-free menu -- headlined by spinach smoothies, bison burgers and turkey bacon -- hasn't become a popular choice in the Yankees' clubhouse, though if he continues hitting for power, he just might gain a few converts along the way.
Teixeira homered twice in Friday's 6-1 Subway Series victory over the Mets and paces the roster with seven homers and 17 RBIs through 16 games. With only five hits that haven't left the ballpark, Teixeira has done an excellent job of making his best swings count.
"I'm very thankful for the health, and it is what I envisioned; hitting more home runs, driving the ball, taking that 'A' swing that you guys have heard me talk about before, being able to be strong and healthy, and take my normal swing," he said.
Teixeira has notched at least one RBI in six straight games and is the fastest Yankee in terms of games played to reach 17 RBIs since Nick Swisher in 2012 (16 games). He credits the health of his right wrist, now 21 months removed from surgery, as well as a gluten-free offseason diet that was designed to cut down on inflammation.
"I think it's definitely helped," Teixeira said. "After the surgery in '13, and really having a tough season all year -- feeling like garbage last year all year basically -- I knew I had to go all-in with the diet and really ramp up everything about my offseason program, and it's paid off."
Of his hits that haven't landed as souvenirs, Teixeira counts four doubles and one single in 55 at-bats, which is why his batting average stands at .218. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he's OK with that, and would prefer to have the homers over a swollen batting average.
"I want the run production," Girardi said. "The bottom line is how many runs you score. You drive in 17 a month, we've still got time and he started late, you're going to have a pretty good year."
Teixeira required three cortisone injections in his wrist and two in his back just to get through last season, seeing his production fade badly in the second half. The Yankees believe he can keep this level of production going deep into the summer, and Teixeira believes that all of his time spent with a new trainer and nutritionist will prove to have been well spent.
"I knew I had to address inflammation, and that's what I did," Teixeira said. "It's allowed my body to feel better, and to work out harder. It's only been three weeks, but hopefully it continues for the next six-plus months."