HOUSTON - Mark Teixeira laughed softly.
The question: Would he say his surgically repaired right wrist feels 100 percent?
"It's never going to be normal," Teixeira said after Tuesday night's season-opening loss to the Astros, a game in which he went 2-for-3 with a walk.
It is, what he called, a "new normal," which doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing.
"It's like my ankle, I broke my ankle when I was in college , it's never been the same," Teixeira said.
The 33-year-old first baseman, who suffered a torn tendon sheath in the wrist in March 2013, further explained before last night's game what he meant by the wrist never feeling "normal" again.
"I'm never going to be the way I was out of the womb," Teixeira said. "People are like, 'Oh, you had surgery so now you're normal.' No, that's exactly why you're not normal. You have to adjust. I've had to adjust to an ankle surgery, I've had to adjust to a knee surgery. Anytime you have a major surgery you adjust your work habits, your preparation habits. So when I say it's never going to be normal, I'm always going to have to keep those adjustments as part of my routine going forward."
As for feeling 100 percent, Teixeira smiled again.
"One-hundred percent, it's all relative," he said. "Will I ever not think about it again? Hopefully, but I don't know. I can't promise anything."
Manager Joe Girardi was unconcerned about Teixeira's remarks. The comments, to him, simply reflect the realities of anyone coming off a major surgery.
"I think whenever you have a significant injury it's something you have to pay attention to the rest of the year," Girardi said. "Whether it's a back, shoulder, elbow, a knee, a wrist. You have to pay attention to it to make sure it's as strong as can be on a daily basis."
Tuesday night was encouraging for Teixeira, who went through a miserable spring in terms of the results. Teixeira hit .086 (3-for-35) with a .289 on-base percentage, but felt during the final week of the spring he and hitting coach Kevin Long discovered a swing flaw on video that kept him from taking his "A" swing.
Teixeira believed he was taking just that the last handful of exhibition games and that continued Tuesday.
"The most important thing is taking my 'A' swing and that's not protecting and not thinking about it," the switch-hitting Teixeira said. "Consciously I have to not think about it. I have to make sure that I'm letting it go on every swing."
Girardi saw exactly that.
"He was letting the bat go," Girardi said. "I think it carried over into yesterday. He was the patient hitter we've seen in the past. I saw a lot of good things."
Something Teixeira, discussion about his wrist aside, fully expects to continue.
"We'll see what that new normal is," he said. "Is it hitting the ball in the second row instead of the fifth? Hopefully that's what it is. Hopefully it's just maybe a little less power or maybe taking a day off once a month or whatever it is. But I fully expect to have a long, healthy season and hopefully a productive season."