Upon reporting for spring training in February, Mark Teixeira laid out in great detail his plan for battling the overshifts that have bedeviled him, and quite a few others, in recent years.
"Hit more home runs, hit more doubles and walk more," the switch-hitting first baseman said Feb. 25.
To translate further: fans wanting to hear about "going the other way," "using all fields" or even "laying down the occasional bunt" were going to be disappointed.
It is safe to say that 17 games into the season, few Yankees fans are disappointed in Teixeira.
The 35-year-old, targeted by general manager Brian Cashman and quite a few others as needing a bounce-back year for the Yankees to have any chance of making the postseason, continued a powerful start to his season Friday night.
Teixeira hit a pair of two-run homers into the second deck in rightfield against Jacob deGrom in a 6-1 victory by the Yankees that snapped the Mets' winning streak at 11 games.
"As a power hitter, you know one of the best things you can do is hit a home run early in a game," Teixeira said. "When you have two good starting pitchers going together, that might be the only runs you score all game long."
Teixeira's two-run homer in the first made it 2-0 and his two-run shot in the third made it 5-0 (Jacoby Ellsbury hit a solo shot earlier in the third).
The blasts gave Teixeira -- who missed most of 2013 because of right wrist surgery and was never quite right last season because of effects from that surgery as well as other nagging injuries -- a team-best seven homers and 17 RBIs in 16 games.
"I've said all along about Tex, he really knows how to drive runs in," Joe Girardi said. "Ever since he's been here, he knows how to get the job done. He does it lefthanded, he does it righthanded. He's really, really important to our offense."
Teixeira is hitting only .218 but leads the regulars with a .673 slugging percentage. He ranks second in doubles (four) and walks (11). Oddly, he has only one single.
It has been, to this point, a welcome rebound season after spending much of 2014 feeling "like garbage the whole year, basically."
He changed his diet in the offseason, essentially going gluten-free, something he credits significantly for getting off to this kind of start.
"I'm very thankful for the health, and it is what I envisioned," Teixeira said. "Hitting more home runs, driving the ball, taking that base [walks] and taking my 'A' swing that you've heard me talk about before. Being able to be strong and healthy and take my normal swing. And I knew that walks would be the byproduct of that because when you're driving the ball and hitting home runs, pitchers are more careful. So that's the best way to beat the shift."