Greenwich resident Mark Teixeira hoping to have a healthy 2013 season for the Yankees
Updated 10:51 pm, Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Accustomed to playing almost every game during his first nine Major League seasons, the Greenwich resident endured a bit of a frustrating 2012 campaign due to a variety of injuries.
"It was a very difficult season," said Teixeira, who reflected on the Yankees' 2012 season this week with Hearst Connecticut Newspapers. "I missed almost 40 games, which is something I've never done before. It was tough to come back from those injuries."
The 32-year-old Teixeira, who resides in Greenwich with his wife Leigh and their three sons, spent time on the disabled list with a calf strain from late August until early September. Also battling a wrist injury and a painful, persistent cough, Teixeira played a career-low 123 games for the Yankees, who lost to the Detroit Tigers 4-0 in the ALCS.
"I looked forward to having some time off after the season to recover and get healthy," said Teixeira, who noted that he currently feels fine.
Teixeira, who played in an average of 157 games his previous four years, still produced a representative season despite being plagued by injuries. The 6-foot-3, slick fielding first baseman hit 24 home runs and collected 84 RBI for the Yankees, who won the AL East with a record of 95-67. He also played enough first base to win his fifth Gold Glove Award, registering a career-best .999 fielding percentage by committing only one error in 1,055 chances. His .999 field percentage was a Yankees record at the position. One of Teixeira's idols, Don Mattingly, had the previous record (.998 in 1994).
"Winning the Gold Glove was cool, it always feels great to be recognized for your defensive play," Teixeira said. "Defense helps you win games because it shows up every game. A player or team can go into a slump, so your offense can leave you. But your defense should always be there."
"We really enjoy playing together in the infield," Teixeira said. "When you look at the talent our infield possesses, it's impressive. We're all on the wrong side of 30, but we're still playing our positions well."
The two-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger award winner, who is being honored with the J. Walter Kennedy Award at Thursday's MS Dinner of Champions at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, returned to the Yankees' lineup in time for their playoff series against the Baltimore Orioles. After edging the Orioles in a dramatic five-game series, the Yankees struggled offensively and were swept by the Tigers.
"There were a lot of reasons why we fell short to Detroit in the playoffs, but the bottom line is, in the playoffs anything can happen," Teixeira said. "We could make excuses about having to play so many games back-to-back, but you have to go out there and get it done. We just didn't get it done."
Like his teammates, Teixeira left the ALCS against the Tigers knowing he faced top-notch pitching.
"I was very impressed with their pitching, overall the Tigers had an amazing series," Teixeira said. "But in the World Series, the Giants did the same things to defeat them that they did to us. That's baseball."
Expectations are always sky-high for the Yankees, so when they don't make it to, or win the World Series, it's news. Yet Teixeira knows the Yankees had a season most teams would take in an instant.
"I'm proud of what our team accomplished, making it to the final four is tough to do," Teixeira said. "We faced a lot of adversity right from the beginning of the season with all of the injuries we had. I thought our team did great job of battling through the injuries."
Following the Yankees' elimination in the playoffs, Teixeira opted not to watch much of the World Series between the Tigers and the Giants.
"I don't watch baseball after we're done playing," Teixeira said. "Watching the World Series when we're not in it is tough, so that's a little bit of it. After our season is over, I like to spend time with my wife and kids. I spend plenty of time away from them during the season and they make a lot of sacrifices."
The Yankees won the World Series in Teixeira's first year with the Yankees in 2009 and have reached the postseason every year since he donned the pinstripes.
"Having the opportunity to play for the most successful team in the American League the past four years has been an amazing experience," Teixeira said. "Living here in Greenwich with all that it offers has also been great."
One thing Greenwich hasn't offered the Teixeira family recently is power. Like a large portion of town, Hurricane Sandy knocked the power out of the Teixeira home. When Greenwich Time spoke with him on Tuesday, he was still hoping for his lights to be turned on.
"It would be nice to have internet and cable," he said. "Hopefully, I can get on the internet soon get some more information on the National MS Society (the organization that's giving him the award Thursday). We'll see."