DUNEDIN, Fla. -- One year after there seemed to be no shortage of questions about Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira, the trio has been able to enjoy a Spring Training largely devoid of distractions.Sure, there was that two-day blip when A-Rod said he was going to retire after
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- One year after there seemed to be no shortage of questions about Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira, the trio has been able to enjoy a Spring Training largely devoid of distractions.
Sure, there was that two-day blip when A-Rod said he was going to retire after 2017 (unless he doesn't), but otherwise it has been all business for the veterans. The Yankees believe that the heart of their lineup can still keep pace with anyone, and as long as they are on the field, their stats should continue to pile up.
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"I feel like I'm turning back the clock," Teixeira said. "My body feels so good right now, that's not going to be an issue. Alex being a DH, that won't be an issue for him. Carlos is so consistent, if he can stay healthy, I think we can all put together great seasons again."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said one of his greatest challenges will be managing playing time for Rodriguez (40), Beltran (38) and Teixeira (35), watching their innings closely. Father Time may still be undefeated, but Girardi believes that the three have enough left in the tank to produce a loud summer.
"I was really happy with what they did last year," Girardi said. "It was unfortunate that we lost Tex [in August], but I'm really pleased. They give you so many options because two of them are switch-hitters, which really helps."
Beltran endured a sluggish April but posted an .862 OPS from May 1 onward, while Rodriguez and Teixeira combined for 64 homers and 165 RBIs. The Yankees scored the second-most runs in the Majors in 2015, but Rodriguez said they can't take that for granted.
"You know, last year is last year. It's over," Rodriguez said. "This year's a new year. We have a lot to prove. I'm laser focused on getting my body ready for Opening Day and for the long season. But we are excited."
Teixeira credits an anti-inflammatory diet for his performance boost, and he said he has been feeling more energy this year than last. Just in time for the opener, he said he has identified a tweak in his swing that was producing too many Grapefruit League grounders.
"These last couple days, we've been looking at it and we were like, 'Oh, there it is,'" Teixeira said. "You look at the season I had last year, I felt like I was really consistent the whole season. That's big for a switch-hitter; being able to be consistent. I want to be able to do that again."
Rodriguez is similarly encouraged, believing that he better paced his spring to avoid the August and September crash that dented his numbers in '15. Beltran said one of the benefits of experience is that the veterans should know what it takes to be ready.
"Right now, I personally feel good," Beltran said. "I like where we're at as a team. We have a week to go, and we just need to turn the volume a little bit up in this next week."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.