Tag: Mark Teixeira

Takeaways from MLB Week 18

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has largely been a mystery since he made his MLB debut in 2013.

He has flashed unbelievable talent and athleticism that suggests he could be among baseball’s best to play the game. But off-the-field drama, injuries and a questionable work ethic have gotten in the way of that.

This past week, the Dodgers decided he will have to figure it out elsewhere, at least for the time being.

The team demoted him to Triple-A.

But this week saw other players arrive back with MLB clubs and some choose to leave them on their own accord. Who might they be?

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Mark Teixeira Will Retire at End of Season: Latest Comments, Reaction

Mired in the worst slump of his career, New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira announced his retirement from baseball Friday, effective at the end of the 2016 season, per Pedro Gomez of ESPN:

ESPN’s Buster Olney first reported the news, and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports confirmed it.

The 36-year-old slugger has been hampered by injuries all season, and he’s hitting just .198 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. Teixeira hasn’t appeared in more than 123 games in a single season since 2011. He missed nearly all of the 2013 campaign with a wrist ailment, and his 2015 season was cut short due to a fracture in his leg.

Tex was named to his third All-Star team and was enjoying a fine year prior to the leg injury; he was hitting .255 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI in just 111 games. That production lent hope that he would be a key part of the Yanks lineup in 2016, but his stats have taken a nosedive.

The Maryland native was set to hit free agency after the season, and a return to New York was in question due to the impending return of Greg Bird from injury in 2017.

At 54-54 and fourth place in the AL East, the Yankees waved the white flag on the 2016 season after dealing closer Aroldis Chapman, reliever Andrew Miller and outfielder Carlos Beltran for minor league talent.

Teixeira, who played for the Rangers, Braves, Angels and Yankees, has a .269 career batting average with 404 home runs and 1,281 RBI in his 14-year career. He is one of just five switch-hitters in MLB history to go yard at least 400 times.

Teixeira is also regarded as one of the best defensive first basemen of his era, netting five Gold Gloves. He’s likely to fall a tier below the Hall of Fame, though he’s had an excellent career.


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Mark Teixeira Hits 400th Career Home Run: Latest Comments and Reaction

New York Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira reached a notable milestone Sunday, swatting his 400th career home run during his team’s game against the San Diego Padres.

Major League Baseball’s official Twitter account broke the news after Teixeira’s solo shot off Carlos Villanueva in the top of the eighth inning:

Teixeira’s achievement was a welcome bright spot amid what was otherwise a forgettable day to compound a disappointing 2016 campaign. The three-time All-Star raised his average to .188 with his sixth homer of the year after striking out in each of his three prior at-bats.

Carlos Beltran, Teixeira’s teammate, is another switch-hitter who has reached the 400-homer mark this year, which at this juncture has more utility for future trivia than the club’s circumstances.

Teixeira’s power from both sides of the plate throughout his MLB career has been impressive in spite of his slumping form this year. Sunday’s homer was more of a celebration of Teixeira’s legacy, which has paralleled how the Yankees’ collective fortune has been this season.

The Bronx Bombers entered Sunday’s contest in the bottom third of the majors in batting average, runs scored and slugging percentage, thus not living up to their previously earned moniker.

It’s going to take a strong effort for Teixeira to rise above the Mendoza Line—and an even stronger one for the Yankees to band together and make a charge after the impending All-Star break. At 39-41 entering Sunday’s game, New York was fourth in the American League East and well outside the AL playoff picture.

For the proud franchise rife with championship trophies, accomplished players like Teixeira need to emulate their elite form of yesteryear for the Yankees to salvage their 2016 campaign.

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Mark Teixeira Injury: Updates on Yankees Star’s Knee and Return

New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has an articular cartilage tear in his right knee, which could require surgery if the knee doesn’t respond to treatment. He left Friday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles and was placed on the disabled list Saturday.

Continue for updates.

Cashman Comments on Potential Surgery for Teixeira

Saturday, June 4

“The initial effort is going to try to be to treat it conservatively with rest, probably involving injections, and then see how he responds to that,” general manager Brian Cashman said in a phone call this morning, per Chad Jennings of LoHud.com. “If that doesn’t work, then you’re looking at a surgical procedure. If that’s the case, then his season is probably done.”

Teixeira Lands on DL

Saturday, June 4

The Yankees announced they placed Teixeira on the 15-day disabled list andselected infielder Chris Parmelee from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.”

Jennings added, “The choice of [Parmelee] as the replacement, Cashman said, is based entirely on performance. Parmelee has a .787 OPS in Triple-A.”

Teixeira Struggling to Shake Injury Bug

Injuries have been a recurring problem for Teixeira over the last few years. He hasn’t appeared in more than 123 games in a season since 2011, though he had missed only six games so far this year.

The lingering ailments, and perhaps age, have sapped most of Teixeira’s value on offense. The 36-year-old owns a .180/.271/.263 slash line and three home runs in 167 at-bats this season.

The Yankees have options at first base. Rob Refsnyder filled in for Teixeira on Friday, and catcher Brian McCann has played 121.1 innings at the position since 2014.

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Yankees Linchpin Mark Teixeira Has Path to Big Contract Year in 2016

For the last seven years, Mark Teixeira has been paid large sums of money to play ball for the New York Yankees. It’s good work if you can get it, and the stars are aligned in such a way that 2016 might not be the end of the road.

Teixeira is coming off a renaissance season in 2015, as he finished with a .906 OPS and 31 home runs in only 111 games. After a year like that, it’s hardly an eyebrow-raiser that the soon-to-be 36-year-old first baseman who is going into the final year of his contract has a hop in his step and big plans for his future.

“I think I have a lot of good years left in me especially after last year,” Teixeira told reporters last week, per Wallace Matthews of ESPN.com. “I’d love to play five more years; I’d love to play until I’m 40. My body feels so good, why not play until I’m 40? Being the kind of hitter I am, I can be a DH the last few years of my career, which could really prolong it. I would love to play that long.”

As to whether Teixeira would prefer to stay in pinstripes for the duration, well, duh.

“That’s the easiest question you could ask me,” he said. “I’d love to stay here, but we’ll see what happens at the end of the year.”

The Yankees have paid Teixeira north of $20 million per year throughout the eight-year, $180 million contract they signed him to in 2008. Now, one presumes he’s so gung-ho about staying with the Yankees because he knows how deep their vaults go and, also, what kind of position he’s in.

At the prospect of Teixeira earning another big-money contract with a huge walk year in 2016, two versions of history are throwing back their heads and doing the Ganondorf laugh.

One is Teixeira’s own recent history. He’s an old man by baseball standards, and 2015 was the first time in a while that he didn’t look the part. Injuries limited him to just 261 games between 2012 and 2014, in which he also OPS’d just .751. After a stretch like that, 2015 looks suspiciously like an outlier.

Then there’s baseball history. Teixeira may have redeemed himself in his age-35 season last year, but the track record of 36-year-olds doesn’t like his odds of a repeat. Only 11 players have topped a .900 OPS and 30 homers in their age-36 season. For that matter, only 35 players have ever done so well as an .800 OPS and 25 homers.

While we’re checking off reasons not to be optimistic, we should also address the theory that players in walk years are likely to benefit from extra motivation. Studies done on that subject—such as the one that the St. Louis Cardinals did on their own, as reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatchhave generally concluded in shrugs. For every Zack Greinke, there tends to be an Ian Desmond.

So why be optimistic about Teixeira, then? Oh, you know. Reasons and such.

Despite his recent trouble with injuries, it’s actually easy to take Teixeira’s word for it that he’s feeling good going into 2016. The injury that ended his 2015 season was a broken leg brought about by fluky circumstances. Up until then, a new diet and enough time to recover from previous injuries had him feeling the best he’d felt in years.

“I’m just very thankful,” Teixeira told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News last June. “I’m very thankful for the health and I just hope that continues.”

Teixeira also benefited from taking a different approach into 2015. After getting routinely humbled by infield shifts in previous seasons, he told Erik Boland of Newsday that his plan to fight back against the shift was to render it moot.

The plan in his own words: “Hit more home runs, hit more doubles and walk more.”

And it worked. Teixeira’s 12.8 walk percentage was his highest since 2010, a byproduct of his lowest chase rate (25.4 O-Swing%) since his first year in pinstripes in 2009. And he did indeed turn up the power, posting his best slugging percentage in years.

As Dylan Higgins notes at FanGraphs, that had a lot to do with Teixeira turning fly balls into home runs at a career-best 23.5 percent clip. Considering his advanced age, that makes it too easy to wonder if a regression is in order. 

However, Teixeira didn’t just say he wanted to hit for more power and make it happen with a snap of his fingers. He helped himself by pushing his overall fly-ball percentage back over 40 in just the way he needed to. With an assist from FanGraphs, here’s a graph that shows he pulled a lot more fly balls without sacrificing any hard contact on fly balls:

That’s a combination that would lead to more power. A healthy fly-ball habit is the best baseline for a consistent power stroke, and a pull habit produces more power than an opposite field or up-the-middle habit. As for the benefit of consistent hard contact, well, use your imagination.

If Teixeira’s plan for 2016 is to stick with what worked in 2015, it could work again. That would help his case for a new contract, and what might help even more are various circumstances that could make his production look especially important.

As impressive as Teixeira’s turnaround in 2015 was, it got overshadowed by what Alex Rodriguez was doing. Despite being sidelined for all of 2014 and posting steadily dwindling numbers even before then, he OPS’d .842 with 33 home runs while serving as the Yankees’ everyday designated hitter.

But where Teixeira’s return to relevance in 2015 passes the believability test, it’s harder to give A-Rod’s season a passing grade.

Rodriguez completely ran out of gas at the end of the year, by which point he was striking out in nearly 30 percent of his plate appearances and struggling to make consistent hard contact. Basically, he finally started looking like a 39-year-old on the downswing of his career. 

And for A-Rod’s age-40 season in 2016, he’ll be attempting to repeat production (.840-plus OPS and 30-plus homers) that only one player in history has achieved at such an advanced age. That is, the odds would seem to be way more against him than they are against Teixeira.

If Teixeira indeed continues to rake while A-Rod plummets, the Yankees are inevitably going to find themselves wary about cutting Teixeira loose and trusting A-Rod to be their primary slugger in the final year of his contract in 2017. That could inch them closer to satisfying Teixeira’s wish of a new contract.

Of course, the alternative would be to hand Teixeira’s first base gig to his heir apparent, Greg Bird. But with the 23-year-old out for all of 2016 following shoulder surgery, doing so would require a leap of faith on his health and readiness.

With Teixeira openly—and likely strategically—expressing his willingness to move into a full-time DH role down the line, the Yankees could re-up with him on a multiyear deal and then play some musical chairs after 2017. They could wave goodbye to A-Rod, move Teixeira into his vacated DH spot and move a fully recovered Bird into Teixeira’s vacated gig at first base.

As for what kind of contract could keep Teixeira around, there’s not exactly a clear picture of what constitutes fair compensation for a slugger heading into his late 30s. But two recent deals stand out: Victor Martinez signing for four years and $68 million coming off his age-35 season and Carlos Beltran signing for three years and $45 million coming off his age-36 season.

A new deal for Teixeira could fall somewhere in the middle of those two. To throw something out there, perhaps three years in the $50-55 million range. To sweeten it, the Yankees could throw in an option for a fourth year that would keep him in New York through his age-40 season.

It may not sound like much relative to the $180 million deal that Teixeira will be wrapping up this season. But it would make him a significantly richer man all the same, and it would fit reasonably well in the Yankees’ future.

Now that we have it all figured out on paper, all Teixeira has to do is go and do more or less exactly what he did in 2015. If he can manage that, he may retire a Yankee after all.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Biggest Takeaways from Yankees’ Loss to Astros in the AL Wild Card

The New York Yankees losing a one-and-done Wild Card Game at home to the Houston Astros on Tuesday night provided another harsh reminder to fans of the famous franchise: These are not your Yankees of old.

Derek Jeter was not coming to save the Yankees this time around. Johnny Damon wasn’t picking up a clutch base hit. Nick Swisher could not provide an emotional boost with his energetic attitude. Jorge Posada was but a spectator.

The Yankees instead had Carlos Beltran coming up empty in three of four at-bats. Catcher Brian McCann went hitless in four plate appearances. In total, three members of the Yankees reached base via hits. That, unfortunately for the Yankees, matched the amount of runs the Astros scored en route to notching the 3-0 victory.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, per ESPN, spoke about the state of his roster following the loss to the Astros:

“Physically it’s not a very healthy group in there right now at the end of the season. Guys are beat up,” Girardi said. “But they never stopped playing. They never stopped playing hard.”

Girardi wasn’t wrong in pointing out that he did not have the lineup of his choice when the Yankees hosted the Astros. Among the Yankees players who were sidelined on Tuesday was first baseman and slugger Mark Teixeira. Teixeira has been inactive since fouling a ball off of his shin in the middle of August.

Also missing was designated hitter Alex Rodriguez, even though Rodriguez was in the lineup. A-Rod went hitless in four at-bats. He was twice downed on strikes. In all, Rodriguez saw a total of 10 pitches.

Maybe the biggest takeaway from the Yankees’ loss to the Astros is that the result erased a spectacular season had by Rodriguez. Little had been expected of A-Rod among fans of the Yankees back in the spring. The often-criticized A-Rod was a revelation in his return to the Yankees, launching 33 home runs and accumulating 86 RBI throughout the 2015 regular season.

ESPN Staff Writer Wallace Matthews wrote about how Rodriguez could have been a hero for the Yankees against the Astros. Rodriguez stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning. Two runners were on, and the Yankees were trailing by a pair of runs. Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, pitching on three days’ rest, was on the hill. The stage was set for A-Rod:

Only this was not the Rodriguez of 2007, or even the Rodriguez of, say, Aug. 1, 2015. This was a 40-year-old player coming off 19 months of idleness, who had played 151 regular-season games, more than he had since 2007, and his moment in the spotlight lasted all of one pitch. Even though it was the pitch he thought he wanted, a waist-high cutter, Rodriguez could do nothing more than loop it harmlessly to centerfield, where Carlos Gomez was waiting to tuck it — and the Yankees’ hope of pushing their season further into October — into his glove for the final out.

Keuchel, not Rodriguez and not anybody else wearing Yankees pinstripes, was dominant on Tuesday. While Masahiro Tanaka gave up two earned runs off of two solo round-trippers, Keuchel struck out seven batters in six full innings of work. The Yankees then failed to register a single hit off of three Houston relievers, a final whimper from the New York lineup that had run out of steam.

Rodriguez spoke to reporters, Matthews included, about the 2015 campaign following the loss to the Astros:

I mean, it’s hard to kind of reflect on the year right now, but it’s been an incredibly fun year overall. I played a lot of games and that’s probably the biggest surprise of the whole year. Just had a lot of fun playing with the guys and just feel grateful for the opportunity to come back and re-establish myself as a major league baseball player.

How much fun Rodriguez has left in the tank is a great unknown heading into the offseason. Rodriguez turned 40 years old this past July. He is, per Major League Baseball rules, clean as far as the public knows. The body of every great athlete, even that belonging to A-Rod, eventually breaks down.

It is possible that Rodriguez has made his last great contributions to the Yankees as a player. He may not be alone on that list.

The previously mentioned Teixeira could be on his way out of New York before next spring. Greg Bird is ready to take his rightful spot in the Yankees lineup at first base. A team looking for a veteran right-handed bat could make the Yankees an offer, one that would likely include the Yankees eating some of Teixeira’s pricey contract. Teixeira is, according to Spotrac, owed over $46.2 million between now and the end of the 2016 season.

The perception is that the Yankees will swiftly and easily rebuild the roster via free agency. That’s what the Yankees do, after all. These Yankees are not the Yankees from a decade ago or even from 2009. These Yankees may not be willing to hand left-handed ace David Price a blank check. Zack Greinke will be looking to lock down the final massive contract of his playing career. Bryce Harper isn’t joining the Yankees in 2016. Neither is Mike Trout.

It should not be ignored that the Yankees have young talent. Didi Gregorius, as explained by Roger Rubin of Newsday, has thus far been a solid replacement for the retired Jeter. Bird seems ready for the big show years ahead of schedule. Twenty-one-year old starter Luis Severino went 5-3 in 11 starts.

Fans of the Yankees are going to be asked to embrace patience. The Yankees of old got old. “Buying” a World Series is not an option this time around. The foundation of a championship team exists in the Bronx. A new era for the Yankees will soon arrive.

What’s painful for fans of the Yankees is that the old era must first die before the new era begins.

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MLB Playoff Predictions: Key Injuries Facing Playoff Contenders

The injury bug often rears its mighty head at the most inopportune times in Major League Baseball. The optimism of a team can quickly disappear when a key player goes down. And when the injury warrants a lengthy recovering timesometimesthat optimism is crushed completely.

With the 2015 MLB playoffs right around the corner, postseason contenders will have their fingers crossed that injuries will be avoided from here on out.

All teams have had to deal with injuries this season—some worse than others. Many of those teams were able to overcome their misfortunes to this point, while others face recent injuries without much time to recover.

When it comes to playoff successes, the healthier team seems to have the better shot at long-term success. That’s not always the case, but a key injury down the stretch can sometimes be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The slides ahead will focus on the key injuries that each playoff contender is currently facing this season and whether they can overcome said injuries in postseason competition. That’s not to say that every injury will be listed for each team, but key players will be noted as best as possible.

Teams that are listed would make the playoffs if the season ended as of Friday night.

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Mark Teixeira Injury Update: Yankees Star Out for Season with Leg Fracture

The New York Yankees’ chances of winning the AL East took a major hit Friday, as further tests on first baseman Mark Teixeira revealed a leg fracture. The slugger is now expected to miss the rest of the season due to the injury.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News shared word of the latest setback Friday afternoon. Jack Curry of the YES Network provided confirmation from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and noted the expected recovery time is three months.

Teixeira originally got injured by fouling a ball off his shin against the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 17. He missed seven games before trying to return, but he appeared in just two before going back to the bench.

He stated that even if the team hadn’t tried to play the waiting game and had shut him down immediately he wouldn’t have been back by the World Series, per Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal.

The Yankees placed him on the 15-day disabled list last week. On Thursday, the infielder confirmed he was scheduled to undergo more tests due to the lingering problem, per Andrew Marchand of ESPN.

“Yeah, in my mind, I’m playing,” Teixeira said. “But, we tried to push it the first time and knew it wasn’t ready. So we have to figure out how much healing’s occurred and when I can push it again. For me, I’d like to go out and try to run today, but, doctors are saying it’s not healed enough yet so, it’s just a lot worse than we first expected.”

Teixeira was enjoying a terrific season before the injury occurred. He had blasted 31 home runs with a .357 on-base percentage in 111 games. It re-established him as one of the team’s most important players after a three-year stretch where he didn’t top 25 homers.

Buster Olney of ESPN put Teixeira’s injury in perspective, given the first baseman’s past injury issues:

It’s a major loss for the Yankees lineup, and Greg Bird will be called upon to pick up most of the slack. He’s played reasonably well so far, hitting five home runs in 24 games, but how he’ll perform as opposing pitchers get more information on him is a question mark.

New York currently trails the Toronto Blue Jays by 1.5 games in the division. Keeping pace with the powerful Jays will be an uphill battle without Teixeira. The silver lining for the Yankees is the fact that they are 5.5 games clear of the third-place Minnesota Twins in the wild-card race. 


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Mark Teixeira’s Ill-Timed Setback Makes Yankees’ Uphill AL East Climb Steeper

As if things were not going to be difficult enough. 

The Toronto Blue Jays added game-changing pieces to their roster before the non-waiver trade deadline, and a barrage of wins and a sprint up the American League East standings ensued. They have taken over the top spot with a behemoth offense and strong pitching staff, and it does not look like they are going to slow down anytime soon. 

That leaves the New York Yankees chasing a team that looks like it could be the league’s most complete. Meanwhile, the Yankees have a questionable rotation and an offense that showed real signs of regression over the last month—and now a prolonged injury could severely slash their chances of returning to the top of the standings.

After Mark Teixeira was re-examined by the team’s doctor Tuesday, it was determined the first baseman’s bone bruise to his right shin is more significant than the team originally believed. So now the 35-year-old All-Star, in the midst of a resurgent season, will be on crutches for a few days and is still several weeks from returning to the lineup. The injury happened Aug. 17, and Teixeira has started just once since then.

“His bone bruise has not healed at all,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Tuesday. “There is no stress fracture. That was the biggest worry because he hasn’t responded to [treatment]. But the bone bruise has not healed in any way, shape or form.” 

Teixeira is hitting .255/.357/.548, with a 149 OPS+, 31 home runs and 79 RBI this season. Needless to say, he has been one of the league’s top offensive performers this season, ranking fourth in OPS+ behind Nelson Cruz, Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson.

The Yankees and Blue Jays both won Tuesday night, so New York remains 1.5 games behind. The Bombers have won six of their last 10 games, but they lost ground to Toronto as it went 8-2 in that span.

So, how do the Yankees remedy this Teixeira situation?

The initial stopgap was hitting prospect Greg Bird. He had a 1.091 OPS and two home runs in his first five games with the Yankees, all wins. But in his next 11 contests entering Tuesday, he hit .211/.311/.237 and failed to hit another homer. Bird was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, and his struggles in his first call-up are being well-documented since they are coming in a time of need.

There is also the Alex Rodriguez option, which the Yankees can’t seem to agree upon. A-Rod went from one of the league’s best hitters during the first half to a guy who has significantly struggled in the second, particularly in August.

So it appears he won’t be able to fill the offensive void Teixeira’s absence left. And according to Cashman, Rodriguez will not spell Teixeira on the field, although manager Joe Girardi says the team needs A-Rod at first base while its best hitter is on the mend, per David Lennon of Newsday.

When Teixeira initially fouled a ball off his leg, just below his right knee, the team did not believe it would have to find a long-term replacement. The original diagnosis was Teixeira would miss about a week, 10 days at most.

That was manageable. The Yankees, in fact, got through that stretch without disappearing off the AL East radar completely. They went 5-5 over their next 10 games, though the offense struggled as they lost 2.5 games in the standings. Had Teixeira come back after that, things would not have seemed so terrible.

He has not, though.

“He’s going to be down for clearly an extended period of time,” Cashman told reporters. “They’ve ruled out any other complications. It’s a timing mechanism, and it’s just taking a hell of a lot longer than anybody would have expected.”

Since Aug. 18, the Blue Jays have gone 10-3. The Yankees have gone 8-6. New York has bandaged the bleeding by winning four of its last five, but it’s feasted on the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox, two clubs destined to finish miles under .500.

Once the Yankees finish up in Boston on Wednesday, things get more rugged. Their next six games are at home against the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles.

The four after that are also at home. Against the Blue Jays. Without Teixeira.

It’s the biggest, most critical series of both teams’ seasons. National television and media will descend. The microscope will be focused. And even with another series between the teams remaining after that, it is quite possible the division will be decided in those four days in the Bronx.

Now we know Teixeira, the Yankees’ best offensive weapon, will not be there. And that absence, at that time, could determine which team wins the series—and the division.


Stats are courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com, unless noted otherwise. 

All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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MLB Playoff Picture: How Injuries Might Affect Postseason Standings

As Major League Baseball’s 2015 season winds down, injuries have a chance to affect the postseason standings.

Some clubs are counting on potential returns to spark their postseason push, while others face the reality of what a devastating injury means to their chances.

Can the New York Yankees capture the American League East if Mark Teixeira lands on the disabled list? Will Denard Span’s return give the struggling Washington Nationals a lift in the National League East?

Let’s take a look at a major injury from one team in each division and examine what it means for that particular club’s playoff hopes.


AL East

New York Yankees

The division race between the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays is the tightest in baseball. The Yankees lead the surging Blue Jays by one game.

Inconsistency has plagued the Yankees in August. The club is 5-5 in its last 10 games, but the offense put up 16 combined runs in back-to-back wins over the Minnesota Twins in a recent series.

The biggest question mark moving forward is the health of Teixeira. The All-Star first baseman fouled a ball off his leg and had to be removed from Monday’s game. 

Manager Joe Girardi told Mike Rose of Newsday that the injury is a bone bruise.

“He’s got a pretty good bone bruise,” Girardi said on Wednesday.

Rose noted that it doesn’t appear Teixeira can play through it.

“Girardi added that Teixeira is ‘not a whole lot better’ and couldn’t even pinch hit Wednesday if needed.”

Girardi told Chad Jennings of The LoHud Yankees blog that a trip to the DL isn’t out of the question.

It’s concerning. I was concerned when he did it right away because of where it hit. Forget the padding that you put on, but there’s no padding when you hit it off your shin. That’s straight bone. I was concerned last night.

Losing Teixeira for an extended period of time isn’t good for the team’s hopes of capturing a division title. The slugging first baseman leads the club with 31 home runs and 79 RBI.

With the Yankees playing the Blue Jays seven more times in September, getting Teixeira back quickly is important. The Blue Jays and Yankees have the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked offenses in baseball according to ESPN.

With Teixeira, the Yankees would have a tough time holding off the new-look Blue Jays. The club was swept by the Blue Jays in early August and was limited to just one run in three games. Add in that the Blue Jays are relatively healthy and on an 11-3 tear in August.

Without him, it’s difficult to imagine the Yankees winning enough games to capture the division title.


AL Central

Minnesota Twins

The AL Central race is essentially over. 

The second-place Twins trail the Kansas City Royals by 13.5 games, but the second wild-card spot is within reach.

The Twins trail by three games, but injuries are beginning to take a toll. The biggest question mark for the club entering 2015 was pitching. The Twins lost their best reliever and arguably their best starting pitcher in recent days.

Glen Perkins is dealing with a neck injury that’s reportedly been bothering the closer for nearly two months.

Derek Wetmore of 1500 ESPN reports that Perkins is scheduled to receive a cortisone shot in his neck prior to Wednesday’s game. 

He’s struggled recently and has allowed eight runs in his last nine appearances.

Phil Hughes landed on the 15-day DL with lower-back pain. 

The right-hander was pulled from his last start with the injury after giving up seven runs on nine hits in just three innings of work on Sunday.

Manager Paul Molitor told ESPN that he wasn’t aware of any discomfort prior to Hughes’ start.

“Quite transparently, I knew nothing,” said manager Paul Molitor. “And I don’t think that anybody thought anything was going on until he got out there on Tuesday.”

If the Twins hope to continue their postseason push, the pitching staff needs to step up. Rookie Tyler Duffey and reliever Trevor May are being promoted to the starting rotation and need to provide the Twins with solid performances. 

Even though the pitching staff improved immensely this season, the loss of Hughes and Perkins seems too much to overcome.


AL West

Houston Astros

The Astros are enjoying their best season in a decade.

There’s still plenty of work to do as the Los Angeles Angels trail by just 2.5 games. 

The offense has struggled over the Astros’ last 10 games and averages just 2.7 runs during that span. The club went 4-6 during that stretch.

Help is on the way in the form of George Springer. The outfielder has been on the DL since early July with a fractured wrist. 

According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Springer played catch on Tuesday and is progressing in his rehab.

Springer told Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle that he’s nearing a rehabilitation assignment.

I didn’t really know what to do, to be honest with you. I prepared myself for no and yes. I got told yes and it was just kind of a relief. It’s obviously been hard these last six weeks to not be able to play out there with these guys. I’m almost there.

The right fielder could return in late August or early September. His presence gives the Astros a powerful bat in their lineup. Houston leads the league in home runs and Springer offers another threat in that department. 

With seven games remaining against the Angels, Springer will likely be available for all of them if he continues progressing. With the way Houston is pitching and the offensive boost it will receive with Springer, the club should make the postseason.


NL East

Washington Nationals

The Nationals have slumped to become a .500 baseball team. The club is 4.5 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East.

The offense continues to sputter without Span. The Nationals’ .248 batting average is six points below league average. Before Tuesday’s 15-6 win over the Colorado Rockies, the club lost six games in a row and showed no signs of busting out of its slump.

Span has been sidelined with a back injury since early July. He’s been on a rehab assignment with the organization’s minor league affiliates and could return in late August.

Before the injury, Span hit .304 with five home runs for the Nationals. 

Span told Fox Sports that he felt good following his latest rehab game.

I haven’t sprinted like that or reacted like that to a ball in a month, so it felt good considering I haven’t done anything like that in a month. My legs felt a little like Jell-O because I haven’t played in awhile. … But overall, a good day.

His return could provide the Nationals a spark. With Span, the Nationals are 35-24 but just 23-35 without the outfielder.

The team’s morale is low, but the Nationals still have a ton of talent, and the return of a key player can help turn things around. The club has struggled finding an ideal leadoff hitter during Span’s absence, but his return will solve those issues while helping to raise the team’s low batting average.

With the type of talent that’s on the roster, it wouldn’t be surprising if Span’s return sparks a September charge.


NL Central

Pittsburgh Pirates

It’s unlikely the Pirates will catch the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals, but the club continues trying to strengthen its grip on a wild-card spot.

The team boasts one of the best rotations in baseball and should benefit from the return of A.J. Burnett. The Pirates have the third-best ERA in the majors at 3.21.

Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that manager Clint Hurdle says that Burnett is feeling well and could return to the mound soon.

The 38-year-old has a 3.06 ERA in 21 starts. 

His return should boost an already superb rotation and give the Pirates an opportunity to win ballgames in the postseason.


NL West

San Francisco Giants

The Giants aren’t healthy. 

The club has multiple players missing from its starting rotation and lineup. The biggest might be Mike Leake, who the Giants acquired at the trade deadline this year.

Leake is dealing with a hamstring strain that’s cost him his last three starts. He was expected to rejoin the rotation on Tuesday, but soreness continues to keep him on the DL and he’s listed as day-to-day.

Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com reports that the club’s plan is to have him return this weekend against the Pirates.

“Each day it gets better,” Leake told Pavlovic. “It’s just not ready. You can only go as fast as your body lets you.”

Outfielder Hunter Pence was placed on the DL on Tuesday with a moderate oblique strain according to Pavlovic. He’s expected to miss a few weeks with the injury.

One could throw a dart at a list of names and find an injured player that’s important for the Giants’ postseason push. Yet Leake was acquired at the deadline in hopes of solidifying the rotation. The organization gave up young prospects for the pending free agent to help the club down the stretch. 

The Giants trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by two games and the final wild-card spot by three games. The return of Leake, among others, gives the Giants a strong chance of pushing past the Dodgers for the NL West title.


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