Teixeira hears pleas of Orioles fans
Maryland native now focused on leading Angels to playoffs
ANAHEIM -- Even from half a continent away, Mark Teixeira has heard the relentless pleas for him to come home. The Severna Park, Md., native knows all about the online petition that intertwines his name and the hopes of countless Baltimore-area fans, and he's said it would be a dream come true to play for his hometown team. But that doesn't mean it will happen.
The two-time Gold Glove winner acknowledged his desire to play in Baltimore on Wednesday, but he also said that he's a long way from making any decisions about his impending free agency or his next destination. Right now, Teixeira's sole concern is helping the Los Angeles Angels win, and he said he's kept pretty busy with that single-minded goal.
"It's great to hear that the fans of Baltimore want a winner, because they're great fans. I was one of them for a long time," said Teixeira, who was recently traded to Los Angeles from Atlanta. "I'm so focused on winning here with the Angels that I've put off all the free-agent talk for the end of the season. For me and my teammates, that's the best thing to do."
Teixeira, who's positioned to be one of the premier free agents this winter, has hit 30 or more home runs three times in his career and has driven in at least 100 runs in four different seasons. The former first-round pick won't turn 29 until next season, and he seems poised to be one of the league's most productive first basemen for years to come.
Baltimore definitely has Teixeira fever, and there are countless fan sites and postings on message boards devoted to the topic. There's even an online petition with nearly 100 signatures clamoring for him to play for the Orioles, and Teixeira said Wednesday that it's a reflection of the Baltimore area's rabid desire to break back into contention.
"I think it would probably be different if the Orioles had won a lot recently, but with the dominance of the Yankees and Red Sox, those fans are just hungry," he said. "It's always something that would be very special to me. But like I said, in a couple months, when the season's over, I'll sit down and make those decisions. "
Teixeira, who made a diving catch early in Wednesday's game and doubled in the third inning, said he's still adjusting to life with the Angels. The switch-hitter has been dealt at the Trade Deadline in each of the past two seasons, but he hasn't let it affect his play. In fact, judging by a quip he made Wednesday, the trades may even have energized him.
"It's good and bad," he said. "The great thing is on the field, I keep getting traded to a better situation. Last year, we were so close with the Braves and couldn't get over the hump. This year, I went to the team with the best record in baseball. That's nice, but it's tough having to move your family so much. It's easier to come over to a new team on the field, but moving from Atlanta to California is a little tough. Just getting the cars and renting a house and bringing all the family out is difficult."
"I think that's more economic than it is anything else," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley of the Teixeira trades. "He's a legitimate presence in the middle of the lineup. He's a legitimate offensive threat from both sides of the plate."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.