Mark Teixeira back to his productive self

Mark Teixeira of the Yankees looks on against

Mark Teixeira of the Yankees looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, May 17, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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CHICAGO -- Mark Teixeira traces his resurgence to one pitch late in the night of April 27.

"The game-tying home run on a 95-mph fastball that I turned around,'' he said. "That swing felt really good.''

Leading off the seventh inning of that game, Teixeira sent a 2-and-2 fastball from Garrett Richards into the second deck in right to tie the score at 2-2. The Yankees went on to beat the Angels that Sunday night, 3-2.

Teixeira, who struggled during spring training and much of the first month of the season with his surgically repaired right wrist, entered that night with a slash line of .212/.366/.333, with one homer and four RBIs in 10 games. But beginning April 27, he had eight homers (tied for second in the majors in that span) and 21 RBIs in 22 games (81 at-bats) and a slash line of .284/.370/.593.

"The wrist, it's still a process and it's something I have to get treatment on and work on strengthening every day, but I feel like I'm over a hump,'' Teixeira said before Friday night's game against the White Sox. "It's manageable and I can produce with it.''

Fortunately for the Yankees, Teixeira has been quite productive of late. His two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning of Thursday night's 3-2 loss gave him 19 RBIs in his last 19 games.

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"It's very satisfying,'' he said of producing while much of the lineup is not. "I've prided myself my entire career on driving in runs, picking up big hits when my team needs it. That's what I'm trying to do. Just trying to drive in runs is the big thing.''

Teixeira likes to say he's made his living as a power hitter off his power streaks, but he doesn't feel as if he's in the midst of one of those now.

"I think I'm in one of those stretches right now where I feel like every night I'm putting together good at-bats,'' he said. "Home run streaks come and go, but what's encouraging for me is I'm putting together good at-bats every night.''

The ninth inning Thursday against righty Ronald Belisario was a good example. Teixeira fell behind 0-and-2 before lining a 2-and-2 slider up the middle.

"Last night, a single up the middle gets the job done,'' Teixeira said. "You're not going to be able to hit home runs every night. That's just not going to happen. Being able to draw walks, being able to get on base, being able to get that big hit when your team needs it, that kind of fills in the gaps in between your big home run streaks.''

Joe Girardi said he had been "a little bit worried'' about Teixeira during spring training, especially his lefthanded swing.

"I just didn't feel like it was the same swing we saw before he got hurt,'' Girardi said.

But during the last week of camp, he noticed a sudden change.

Said Girardi, "He felt comfortable in his mind to start letting it go, and once he did that, I felt pretty comfortable with what he'd give us.''

Notes & quotes: No one's playing time has been as impacted by Yangervis Solarte's performance as Kelly Johnson, signed in the offseason to be the club's everyday third baseman. But Johnson, who started at first base Friday night (Teixeira was the DH), hasn't complained. "If you do well, you'll play,'' Johnson said. "Solarte's not just doing well, he's doing exceptional.'' . . . In speaking about Derek Jeter's success before the game, Girardi credited his famous ability to avoid off-the-field headlines. "You don't read about Derek at a place at 2 or 3 in the morning. That's just not who he is,'' Girardi said. "He understands that he has a responsibility to the team and he takes care of himself.''

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