Mark Teixeira grimaces in pain and anger after he was...

Mark Teixeira grimaces in pain and anger after he was hit by a Fausto Carmona pitch in the 2nd inning. (June 10, 2011) Credit: David Pokress

The Yankees may be the worst thing that ever happened to Mark Teixeira, the hitter.

The common thought is that Teixeira's decreasing numbers -- a steady downhill slide in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage during his three seasons with the Yankees -- is mainly due to other teams recognizing his propensity to hit the ball to right field and defending him with a shift.

This accounts for some of the dropoff, however, it's also probably not a eureka moment. There's something else at play here.

The most startling statistic since Teixeira became a Yankee is the fluctuation in his batted ball types:

- His ground ball percentage has decreased ever since he's been with the Yankees, going from 42.8 in 2008 with the Braves and Angels to 34.9 percent in 2011 in New York. He had at least a 39 percent rate from 2004-2008, then posted a 36.4 his first season with the Yankees in 2009.

- Teixeira's line drive rate has also been steadily decreasing, from 19.8 percent in 2009 to 18.3 percent last season. It hadn't dropped below 19.8 percent any season of his career prior to the last two years. He was at 20.7 percent in 2008.

- Meanwhile, his fly ball rate is going in the opposite direction. Teixeira has seen his fly ball percentage increase every year of his Yankees career, from 43.8 percent in 2009 to 46.8 percent in 2011. That 46.8 percent is a career high, and Teixeira had never risen above 40.9 percent at any point in his career until he came to New York. He was at 36.5 percent in 2008.

Whether it's a response to the shift -- trying to hit the ball in the air to avoid the infielders -- or whether he's simply falling prey to the seduction of Yankee Stadium's tempting dimensions, Teixeira is increasingly turning into a fly-ball hitter.

It's not increasing his power production either. His doubles have decreased with the Yankees every season -- 43, 36, 26 -- while his home runs have stayed relatively static -- 39, 33, 39.

Lifting the ball is not lifting his numbers.

Cody Derespina's “The Numbers Game” is a Newsday app-only exclusive.

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