Teixeira happy to be playing team that traded him

New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira (25) works out

New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira (25) works out during ALDS. (Oct. 8, 2010) (Credit: Photo by John Dunn)

Mark Teixeira has a keen interest in getting rid of two entities he helped build in Texas several years ago.

The first is an 8,634-foot home on a golf course outside of Fort Worth. Although Teixeira lives in Connecticut year-round now, the real estate market is so bad he hasn't been able to unload the home he built when he was playing for the Rangers.

The second entity is the Rangers, his former team and the one the Yankees must eliminate to get back to the World Series. If not for Teixeira - or, more specifically, if not for the players the Rangers obtained when they traded him in 2007 - the Rangers wouldn't have been able to build themselves into the team they are today, one getting ready to host the Yankees Fridaynight in Game 1 of the ALCS.

Three key building blocks - shortstop Elvis Andrus, closer Neftali Feliz and lefthander Matt Harrison - were acquired when Texas traded Teixeira to the Braves at the July 31 deadline. The trade signaled a change of philosophy: The Rangers had stopped caring about short-term winning and were going to rebuild completely.

"They've done a great job of rebuilding, and I was a big part of that rebuilding process - on the way out," Teixeira said Wednesday with a smile after taking batting practice at Yankee Stadium. "They traded me and got a lot of big pieces."

Texas has been built into the sort of winning team that Teixeira and third baseman Alex Rodriguez dreamed of being part of when they were together on the Rangers seven years ago.

"The Dallas area deserves a winner, and I went there years ago with the intention of being in the position that they are in there today," said Rodriguez, who played in Texas from 2001-2003 before being traded to the Yankees.

Though Rodriguez said he feels nothing special returning to play the Rangers, Teixeira said this is the matchup he had been hoping for.

After the Yankees swept Minnesota in the ALDS, Teixeira texted Texas third baseman Michael Young to tell him he was rooting for the Rangers to beat Tampa Bay.

"Michael and I came up together and had a lot of great experiences together," he said. "I am so happy for him, because he wants to win so bad. It's a friendly rivalry. I want to beat Michael as much as anybody, but at the same time we'll have fun playing against each other."

Teixeira is having fun playing baseball, period, in these playoffs. After slumping through the Yankees' championship run last season, he excelled in the Minnesota series. Teixeira was the star of Game 1 with a tiebreaking, two-run home run. He reached base twice in Game 2, and he drove in the second run of the series-clinching 6-1 win in Game 3.

Teixeira was 4-for-13 with the homer and three RBIs. Last year he had only eight RBIs in 15 games covering all three postseason rounds.

"I think we feel good about the way we are playing," he said. "I feel it's going to be a great series. We have two very talented teams. If we pitch the way we're capable of and they pitch the way they're capable of, well, there might not be a lot of runs, but it's going to be a great series."

So Teixeira got the matchup he wanted. He finally will be a part of playoff baseball in Texas, albeit in a Yankees uniform. Now, if only he could sell that house.

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