Mark Teixeira just might be the latest Wally Pipp. No, Kelly Johnson is not about to become the Yankees’ regular first baseman and there is not a Lou Gehrig type waiting in reserve. Teixeira will start when he returns from his hamstring injury. But he might just be Pipp-ed out of his familiar lineup placement. With Teixeira on the DL, Joe Girardi has used a lineup that begins Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury. When I asked Girardi about doing just that in December because, in part, I thought it might be important to lengthen the lineup and de-emphasize Teixeira down to seventh until (if?) he proved he was over his wrist injury, Girardi said he would not because Ellsbury was signed to lead off and that was where the speedster is comfortable. So maybe this is just a temporary measure. Except Teixeira’s slide as a hitter pre-dated his injuries, and now combining that decline with what might be lost due to injury (even Teixeira says his wrist will never be the same again) and whatever age has robbed him of very well could mean Teixeira is mostly done as middle-of-the-order bat for the Yankees. At this moment, a top six of Gardner, Jeter, Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano appears the strongest look, followed by Teixeira, Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts. That allows the Yankees lefty-righty-lefty-righty diversification throughout the lineup. I think even hitting third in front of proven RBI men will not stop Ellsbury from running because he is such a high-percentage thief that he would not often be removing baserunners in front of those bats. Also, I don’t think, for example, the Yankees would mind Ellsbury stealing and the opponent walking Beltran to the open base. The Yanks would be comfortable with McCann in the RBI spot. Teixeira has started 605 games for the Yankees. He hit second twice, third 485 times, fourth 49 times, fifth 66 times, sixth once and seventh twice. The sixth was on the final day of the 2012 season after he had missed most of the previous month with a calf ailment, as Girardi was trying to determine where to stick him in the lineup. On May 21-22 of that same year, Teixeira hit seventh — the lowest he had batted since his second season in 2004. He was struggling at the plate and with a bronchial condition, and the Yankees offense was struggling overall. So Girardi dropped Teixeira to see if he could jump-start the player and the team.
Teixeira shouldn’t be in middle of Yankees order anymore
New York Post | Apr 9