On Thursday, Mark Teixeira said his leg "just doesn't really work right now." On Friday, he found out why. It's broken.
Teixeira will miss the remainder of the season after the latest series of tests on his right leg revealed a fracture that had gone undetected by previous CT scans and MRIs.
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"It's been painful since day one," Teixeira said. "So we were just trying to figure out why it wasn't healing, and today we figured it out."
Teixeira was diagnosed with a deep bone bruise after fouling a pitch off his right shin Aug. 17. He played in two more games, starting at first base Aug. 25 and pinch hitting the next day, but ultimately went on the disabled list.
Even as of Thursday, Teixeira maintained that he expected to return before the end of the season. But the tests Friday proved otherwise.
"Today's test was more to see how much healing took place, and I think Tex was expecting good news," general manager Brian Cashman said. "Instead, it was quite the opposite; it was bad news."
Teixeira, 35, will be on crutches for a month, and Cashman said the injury requires a three-month recovery period. He was asked how the fracture went unseen in previous MRIs.
"This stuff is tricky and it takes time," he said. "And it's ultimately declared itself, on the testing finally, as something obvious now that was less obvious in the beginning of the prior testing."
Teixeira said his high tolerance for pain and propensity to play through injuries might have further complicated the matter.
"If I'm screaming in pain all day long, they probably say this isn't right, let's shut him down," he said. "But I was trying to play. I was trying to play every single day. That's the way that you have to go at it as an athlete. Until you know that it's broken, you're going to try to play every day."
The switch-hitting Teixeira, coming off two injury-plagued seasons, was in the midst of a bounce-back season. He had a .255/.357/.548 slash line with 31 home runs, which leads the team, and 79 RBIs in 111 games. The five-time Gold Glove winner also has played outstanding defense at first base.
Rookie Greg Bird has filled in well in Teixeira's absence, hitting .241 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 24 games entering Friday night, but he's still not Teixeira.
Cashman said that had the Yankees known the severity of Teixeira's injury earlier, they might have explored other options at first base before the Aug. 31 deadline for postseason eligibility. But he believes they wouldn't have secured a player who would have outproduced Bird, and he takes comfort in that.
Nevertheless, the production from Teixeira, who is six homers shy of 400 in his career, will be difficult to replace as the Yankees attempt to secure a spot in the postseason.
"It's really disappointing news," Cashman said. "I feel bad for Mark. One of the reasons we're where we're at is because of everything that clearly Mark did this year for us . . . But these circumstances exist in a 162-game season and you have to adjust."
As the Yankees head into October, Teixeira must adjust to watching rather than playing.
"I can't put it into words," he said. "I feel like this team has a chance to go to the World Series, and to not be on the field is really tough to take."