Mark Teixeira hoping to get on one of his hot streaks
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"It doesn't count out there, obviously," he said. But he felt good about it.
Teixeira got to play in only three real games (going 1-for-12) after returning on Monday from a left calf injury that forced him to miss 30 of the previous 31 games. He will have had three days without an at-bat that counts when the Yankees open the ALDS against the Orioles Sunday in Baltimore.
The Maryland native said the time off can't help but be good for his calf. But the same can't be said for the switch hitter's swing from both sides of the plate.
"That's why I'm out there getting extra at-bats in a simulated game," he said. "I'm one of the streakiest hitters in baseball and I'm hoping to get on a hot streak. Not being able to get your timing down is tough. So that's what I'm trying to do right now."
Does he think the extra session will help?
"Let's hope," he said. "Usually, days off aren't good. A month off didn't help me too much. But hopefully it will click on Sunday. That's the goal."
Teixeira is aware of his spotty postseason history; he hit .167 in last year's five-game ALDS loss to Detroit and went hitless in 14 at-bats in the Yankees' previous series, the 2010 ALCS vs. Texas, which they lost in six games. Overall, he is a .207 hitter in postseason play (121 at-bats).
"Personally, not good," he said. "Some big home runs, some big hits, but not the quantity. I definitely want to have a higher average. That's what you're working on. For whatever reason, the last few postseasons, I haven't got a lot of hits. But that's in the past and this year is a totally different year."
Of his calf, Teixeira said: "We all know I'm not 100 percent yet." But manager Joe Girardi said he was encouraged by the way Teixeira held up after running hard to first base on several double-play balls during the final series of the regular season.
Depending on Girardi's lineup choices, Teixeira will be somewhere from fourth to sixth in the Yankees' batting order. Despite his recent lack of playoff success and the heat he has taken for it from Yankees fans, Teixeira welcomes the new challenge of another postseason.
"If you don't think there's a burden on you right now, then what are you playing for?" he said. "This is very important. People try to play it down. It is another baseball game, but it's not at the same time. It's the same game, you don't have different rules out there, but these games are very important."