Mark Teixeira’s future past 2016 is largely shrouded in mystery.
He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season, and it wouldn’t make sense for the Yankees to bring him back given his injury history and their aim to get younger.
But for the time being, he can be useful. If he can regain a power stroke that allowed him to hit 31 home runs in 111 games last season, then he can help a team lingering on the outskirts of a wild-card spot.
He showed off his power in Sunday’s 5-2 win over the visiting Giants, hitting a Jeff Samardzija offering into the Yankees bullpen in right-centerfield with two outs in the bottom of the second. It was his 200th home run as a Yankee.
“I think since I got off the DL, I’ve felt a lot better and hit for a lot more power,” Teixeira said. “I feel blessed to play every single day and no matter what the situation, if I’m on the field, I want to perform. And that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
This season overall has been a struggle for Teixeira, more so perhaps than previous injury-riddled seasons. He’s hitting just .188 with a .269 on-base percentage in 68 games, though since returning from the disabled list June 25, he has shown good power.
Teixeira has six home runs and 11 RBIs in 20 games since his return, compared to three home runs and 12 RBIs in the 48 games prior.
Overall, however, the production isn’t there. Power numbers are nice, but he entered play Sunday hitting only .176 in 14 July games. He’s struggled so mightily that manager Joe Girardi has penciled him into the No. 7 spot in the lineup two contests in a row.
But Girardi is pleased to see him contribute.
“It’s good to see,” he said. “He hit it in the big part of the ballpark, which is even better to see. It means he was able to drive the baseball.”
Given the dearth of first base options, Teixeira likely will be a mainstay in the lineup if he can stay healthy. He still offers solid defense at first base and his ability to switch hit makes him an asset.
And if he gets hot, Teixeira can help revive an offense that has been stagnant through stretches of this season.
Much of the Yankees’ outlook for the remainder of the season will be determined in the coming week before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, so perhaps an increase in production for Teixeira might be too little, too late.
But from his own standpoint, a strong finish could entice a few teams to give him a look on the free-agent market this winter.