Mark Teixeira relieved that Alex Rodriguez is dropping lawsuits
UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Mark Teixeira was informed Friday night of the breaking news about Alex Rodriguez while in the middle of a radio interview.
Teixeira learned that Rodriguez will not be with the Yankees in 2014 after A-Rod dropped his lawsuits against Major League Baseball and accepted his 162-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Teixeira's initial reaction was one of relief that the saga seems to have come to an end.
"I hope we can get it all behind us," the Yankees first baseman said during an appearance at the Mohegan Sun Casino for the Connecticut Sports Foundation dinner. "Hopefully, this gives a little bit of closure that we can just kind of play baseball this year and stop talking about it."
Rodriguez will reappear on the Yankees' radar at this time next year because he is signed for three more seasons beginning in 2015. Will Teixeira welcome back his teammate into the pinstriped fold?
"If Alex is out there hitting home runs and driving in runs, who wouldn't want him back?" Teixeira said.
Of the Yankees who appeared at the cancer-fighting charity dinner, Eduardo Nuñez might be the one most directly affected by Rodriguez's absence. Nuñez, a natural shortstop, said he spent the offseason working out at third and second base with the Yankees expected to have vacancies at those positions.
Robinson Cano is in Seattle, A-Rod is suspended and Derek Jeter is back. So Nuñez, while saddened by the A-Rod affair, is hoping for a chance to replace him.
"Personally, he's my friend and I'm sad because it happened," Nuñez said. "I think it's a great opportunity to me . . . There's an opportunity to prove you can play every day."
Pitcher David Phelps said he had heard rumblings about A-Rod's decision during his own radio interview. While he didn't want to comment on the specifics, Phelps said: "There's one thing I know about Alex: Our team's better when he's in the lineup. We're definitely going to miss him."
A return to form from Teixeira would help the Yankees get over the loss of Rodriguez's bat. Teixeira played in only 15 games last season because of a right wrist injury suffered while he was getting ready for the World Baseball Classic. He had surgery in July and said his wrist is still "stiff" heading into spring training.
"It's really not a concern," Teixeira said.
Teixeira said his surgeon told him the wrist was "probably going to be stiff, tight for a while after surgery, for up to a year. That's what I expect. I'm going to respect that at the beginning of spring training and through the first part of the year and make sure I don't get reinjured because I plan on playing a lot of games this year."