Yankees' Mark Teixeira to miss 8-10 weeks with strained right wrist
TAMPA, Fla. -- Brian Cashman sat in a wheelchair in the middle of the Yankees' clubhouse, calmly discussing the news of the day. The symbolism couldn't be ignored.
Wednesday afternoon brought more bad news for Team Triage as the Yankees found out Mark Teixeira will miss 8-10 weeks with a strained tendon in his right wrist.
"It's a tough loss," Cashman said. "Like all these ones."
The injury left the organization desperately assessing first-base options, and looking at the 40-man roster and the nonroster invitees in camp, few are appealing. It's probably a safe bet that the player who will be occupying first base for most of April isn't on the roster yet.
Kevin Youkilis, a 2007 Gold Glove winner at first, makes the most sense, but Joe Girardi and Cashman, while not ruling it out, said putting Youkilis there would create a potentially bigger hole at third. Youkilis was signed during the offseason as Alex Rodriguez's replacement, though Girardi did, earlier in the day, alert Youkilis that playing first was at least a possibility.
"He provides flexibility," Cashman said of Youkilis. "The problem is, if you move Youk, you need a third baseman. Third base is very difficult. First is always an easier position to fill than third."
Options from within include nonroster invitees Juan Rivera and Dan Johnson, although Cashman said he didn't see Rivera, already competing for the outfield spot created by Curtis Granderson's absence, as anything but an outfielder.
Travis Hafner, signed to be a DH, will remain that, having not played in the field since 2007. "He said he has a glove and anyone's welcome to use it," Girardi said.
Steve Pearce, Russell Branyan and Brandon Laird, for the most part, were the first-base options at Triple-A last season, and none is still in the system. Luke Murton, who started Wednesday's game against the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic team, was the primary first baseman at Double-A Trenton, where he led the system in homers with 25. But Murton is not close to being ready for the big leagues.
As for outside the system, an option the Yankees likely will be forced to explore, this time of year makes that a challenge.
"We have three or more weeks to go with what we have here, as well as evaluate what's elsewhere," said Cashman, who suffered a broken right leg and a dislocated right ankle in a parachuting accident Monday.
"What we have in our camp is what we'll continue to evaluate, and we have at our disposal potential casualties from other camps, so we'll see . . . This isn't the time of year to try and make any moves. Usually movement takes place after the draft [in June], unless people are trying to cut garbage."
Teixeira injured himself Tuesday hitting off a tee in Glendale, Ariz., with Team USA in the WBC. Like Granderson, he is expected to return sometime in May.
As Cashman said Wednesday and Girardi said the night before, wrists can be "tricky."
Cashman said the injury is similar to the one suffered last season by Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. Bautista, in a game at the Stadium on July 16, hurt his left wrist on a swing. He tried to come back, but the wrist bothered him on certain swings and he eventually required season-ending surgery.
Teixeira will remain in New York for the time being, his absence a reminder of how injuries have disrupted this camp.
"It's part of sports, guys have to step up for you," Girardi said. "It's not what you want but it's what you have to deal with. Winning is never easy. You find out what your team is made of."