• With A Rebel Yell, Tex Cried “No More, No More, No More!”

    Posted by on July 30th, 2012 · Comments (5)

    Via the Daily News

    Mark Teixeira makes it all sound very mysterious.

    He wasn’t talking about his 0-for-5 on Sunday night, or the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Red Sox. The Yankees may have hit a bit of a lull here, losing seven of their last 10, but their lead in the AL East is still too big to pretend they’re in any trouble.

    No, this is about Teixeira’s turnaround to his season, and what led to it. It’s about his hot July, in which he has driven in 27 runs, the most in the majors entering Sunday, and how he finally defied a voice from above to get there, taking a stand about who he is as a hitter.

    It was a little more than a year ago, at about the time Teixeira, a switch hitter, had 25 home runs by the end of June, when he says someone of prominence in the Yankee organization essentially insisted that he stop trying to pull everything as a lefthanded hitter, and start using the whole field in an effort to boost his batting average.

    “It wasn’t my decision,’’ he said on Sunday.

    Teixeira doesn’t want to say who it was, except to say that it wasn’t hitting coach Kevin Long. Joe Girardi indicated on Sunday that it wasn’t him, saying it was a general feeling in the organization, and GM Brian Cashman said flatly that it wasn’t him.

    It’s hard to imagine who else of importance would have gone to Teixeira, but the Yankee first baseman made it clear it was more than a request. And, in retrospect, he’s not happy about it.

    “Hey, listen, halfway through last season I was on pace for 50 home runs and 130 RBI,’’ he said, “and I had people telling me, ‘you need to hit the ball the other way.’ I probably shouldn’t have listened to them but I try to please the people that I work for, and it didn’t work out.’’

    Asked if he felt he had a choice in the matter, Teixeira was emphatic: “I was told to do something so I tried it,’’ he said.

    It sounds like something George Steinbrenner would have done in his heyday, but Hal Steinbrenner, the new big boss, steers completely clear from such on-the-field baseball matters.

    Wherever the order came from, it was based on Teixeira’s declining batting average. For much of his career he was a .300 or near-.300 hitter, but in 2010 his average fell to .256, and last season, even after he tried to stop pulling the ball so much when he hit lefthanded, he wound up at .248.

    Teixeira, who is now batting .258, says he doesn’t understand such fuss over his average, since he continued to put up big production numbers, hitting 39 home runs with 111 RBI last season.

    “It’s all about producing runs,’’ he said. “I’d love to hit .300 every year. It would make everybody happy, but I’d much rather drive in 100 runs every year.

    “With the short porch here, why wouldn’t I want to take advantage of that? I’ve played in ballparks where you get rewarded in center field and left-center, but here the ball doesn’t carry to center and left-center. It’s 399 feet to the alley in left-center. It’s a big park that way.

    “I tried to do it the other way in the second half last season and again this season, and the numbers weren’t good. Early in the season, I was swinging at pitches middle-away and hitting lazy fly balls to left or ground balls to short. I’d rather take that pitch and wait for a mistake. I want to do damage.’’

    Not Long, Girardi or Cashman?

    Comments on With A Rebel Yell, Tex Cried “No More, No More, No More!”

    1. July 30th, 2012 | 12:43 pm





      It must have been Suzy W.

    2. hallofamer2000
      July 30th, 2012 | 5:54 pm

      Randy Levine, although I actually agree with this.

    3. redbug
      July 30th, 2012 | 6:17 pm

      @ hallofamer2000:

      I don’t know why you’d agree. If Tex can drive in 100+ runs I don’t care what his average is.

    4. Evan3457
      July 30th, 2012 | 8:23 pm

      Yeah, Tex had 25 HR at the end of June last year, but he was hitting .243, on his way .248 for the season with an OPS of .835, the worst of his career. His OPS+ was under 120 for the season. If Tex is to be worth what the Yanks are paying him, he has to hit for average again, which, in turn would raise his OBA and OPS. His game shouldn’t just be hitting HRs and driving in runs; a hitter of his former stature also has to get on base to be driven in in turn.

      He was getting himself out by pulling pitches away from him. He still is. His BAVG is higher, but his OBA is down again and his OPS is flat. He chases offspeed low and also away, and although maybe you can’t teach a pull hitter to go the other way every single time, taking the shift away as a weapon would help Tex and the team.

      And by the way, whatever happened to his big plans to bunt for hits to try to diminish the shift? Even if he can’t alter his stroke to hit the other way, surely he can bunt down 3rd, can’t he? If not, why not? As far as I know, he hasn’t tried it once, not even in the middle or late innings, not even with the Yanks down by multiple runs and Tex leading off the inning?

      Lookit, no matter how talented a player is, the key to long-term success is the ability to counter-adjust as teams adjust to your game, whether that involves pitching patterns or team defense alignments. What Tex is saying here is, despite the team’s commitment to him for $22.5 million a year for the next 4 years, he’s refusing to counter-adjust.

      As he ages and loses bat speed, his refusal to counter-adjust will cause his performance to continue to drop off until he’s no longer playable. It may slightly improve his performance in the short run, but in the long run, it will kill his career, and seriously damage the team.

      Not only is Tex refusing to make adjustments, he’s proud of his refusal, and of the small short-term gains from it. A quicker formula for early decline to replacement level is hard to find, outside of drug abuse. It took Carlos Baerga four seasons to go from All-Star to regular to bench player to essentially finished as a valuable player.

    5. LMJ229
      July 31st, 2012 | 1:15 pm

      Evan pretty much summed it up. Let’s face it, before 2010 Texiera was one of those rare players who could hit for both average and power and the contract the Yankees gave him reflected that. Now he has fallen in love with that short right field porch and all he does is pull everything. Can’t blame the Yankees for trying to get him to be the player they paid for. I gotta believe that if you consistently try to pull everything you become an easier out. The pitchers aren’t stupid, they will exploit that.

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