Hamstring injury ends Teixeira's season
Yankees add infielder Nunez to ALCS roster before Game 5
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira will miss the remainder of the postseason with a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring, suffered in the fifth inning of Tuesday's 10-3 loss to the Rangers in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
The initial prognosis likely means a six- to eight-week recovery period --- far longer than what remains in the Yankees' season, even if they are able to forge a memorable comeback in this ALCS.
"You play all year and you battle all year to get a chance to help your team out in the [World Series] hopefully, and it's just not going to happen for me this year," Teixeira said, adding that he was "disappointed" and "angry" with the news.
Teixeira incurred the injury trying to beat out a double-play ground ball to third. About six feet shy of first base, he felt a pop in his right hamstring and tumbled into an awkward slide into first base. He was safe, if only because Michael Young's throw from third pulled Mitch Moreland off the bag.
"I was running down the line trying to keep out of the double play, running as hard as I could, and it just gave," Teixeira said. "I didn't hear a pop, but I definitely felt it. I knew right away it wasn't good."
The Yankees did, too. Manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue met Teixeira at the base, not hesitating much before helping him off the field and replacing him with pinch-runner Marcus Thames. The first baseman's spot on the ALCS roster was filled on Wednesday by infielder Eduardo Nunez by Game 5.
Replacing Teixeira on the ALCS roster precludes him from participating in the World Series, should the Yankees advance that far.
With the aid of hindsight, the injury to Teixeira stands out as the game's turning point and a grim harbinger for the events soon to transpire. He batted with two on, nobody out and the Yankees ahead 3-2. After his forceout, Alex Rodriguez hit into a double play, and the Rangers scored three runs in the subsequent half-inning to pull ahead for good.
Teixeira's absence was felt later in the game as well. With Thames in the game, the Yankees couldn't pinch-hit for Lance Berkman when he came up against left-handers Derek Holland and Darren Oliver in a pair of key spots in the later innings. And Thames struck out in Teixeira's slot in the order with a runner on in the eighth.
Outfielder Brett Gardner said the injury didn't affect the team's mindset.
"It's one of those things you have to forget about and get over real quick," Gardner said. "There's no sense in getting upset about it."
That's the attitude the Yankees will have to have going forward into Wednesday's Game 5. The team had a uniform response to news of Teixeira's injury, deeming it tough but an opportunity for others to step up.
"We feel extremely bad for Tex, but we can't feel bad for ourselves," Derek Jeter said. "Other guys are going to have to come in. That's the position we're in."
"Just keep grinding and keep fighting," said Gardner. "We've got guys that are capable of stepping up, filling in or taking over for him, and that's what we're going to try to do."
The likeliest candidate to fill Teixeira's spot at first is Berkman, who played 93 games at the position this season -- 85 with the Astros. Berkman would also be asked to start against left-hander C.J. Wilson. Since coming over from Houston at the Trade Deadline, Berkman has started only three games against righties. One of those, incidentally, was in Arlington vs. Wilson, against whom Berkman went 0-for-2 with a walk.
The Yankees could also start Nick Swisher at first and go with Austin Kearns in right field, but that seems unlikely given that Kearns has not recorded an at-bat this postseason.
This culminates a frustrating finish to the 2010 season for Teixeira, who suffered a bone bruise on his right thumb and a broken right little toe in the span of a week at the end of August. His play suffered a bit in September, with Girardi giving him time off when possible to heal for the playoffs.
Teixeira had no hits in 14 at-bats in the ALCS.
"The last six weeks have been really tough," Teixeira said. "Every ounce of energy I've had is to try to get healthy and try to be able to play. I think my body just said, 'That's it. That's enough.'"
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.