The news on Mark Teixeira is much worse than originally thought. It was announced today that what was initially a deep bone bruise is now a broken right leg. He will not return during the regular season or the postseason. The recovery time will be three months.
“With the way he’s been throughout this process, it’s clearly no surprise,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “It just makes sense why he ran down the first-base line the way he did; why he couldn’t do anything beyond walking.” Since Teixeira fouled a ball off his leg on August 17, the Yankees have gone 12-9.
The Yankees have missed his Gold Glove caliber defense at first base and the impressive power numbers that he has displayed this season. He has 31 homers, 79 RBIs, a 3.4 Offensive WAR, a .548 slugging percentage and a .906 OPS. His 31 homers, 3.5 Offensive WAR, .548 slugging percentage and .906 OPS are all best on the team.
Greg Bird, who was thought to be the temporary first baseman until today, will now know that he will be the everyday first baseman for the rest of the season and in the playoffs. He has performed well at the plate and if you prorate his power numbers for a full season they would be similar to Teixeira’s, but he is still a rookie. However, his defense is not nearly on the level that Teixeira’s is because he does not know when to get a grounder and when to leave it for the second baseman.
Bird, who is a 22-year-old rookie that was called up from Triple-A on August 13, has played in 25 games and has five homers, three doubles, 15 runs scored and 17 RBIs. He will have to continue to handle the pressure of playing games that matter the rest of the season, including in this weekend’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The series that the Yankees play this weekend is their biggest one since the 2012 season, which is when they last made the playoffs. As of before Friday night’s game, the Yankees are 1.5 games behind the first place Blue Jays in the American League East. These four games will go a long way towards determining who wins the division. The Yankees need to win two or more games to ensure that it will be a race the rest of the season.
The Yankees and Blue Jays have both gone 6-4 in their last 10 games, but the Yankees missed an opportunity to gain ground since they lost the last two games of their series to the Orioles and Blue Jays lost their last game of their series to the Red Sox.
The Yankees will play a doubleheader on Saturday since Thursday night’s game was rained out. Here are the pitching matchups for this pivotal series:
Luis Severino (3-2, 2.04 ERA in seven starts)
David Price (14-5, 2.43 ERA)
Saturday Game One
Michael Pineda (10-8, 4.15 ERA)
Marco Estrada (12-8, 3.18 ERA)
Saturday Game Two
Ivan Nova (6-7, 4.50 ERA)
Marcus Stroman (it will be his season debut after having ACL surgery in March)
Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
Masahiro Tanaka (11-6, 3.57 ERA)
R.A. Dickey (10-10, 4.01 ERA)