Last season (.248/.341/.494 but with 39 home runs) was not one of Teixeira's best years. It was good because the power was there, but Teixeira is more than a .250 hitter.
After he failed in the clutch against the Seattle Mariners in Andy Pettitte's first start of the season on Sunday, the fans booed Teixeira vociferously. He told the media, via The Record, "I feel like I’m swinging the bat OK. I’m just not getting a lot of results and don’t have a lot of power right now."
Has Teixeira lost his intensity and possibly some of his desire?
When Teixeira joined the New York Yankees in 2009, an incident occurred that showcased the "real" Mark Teixeira.
The Yankees hosted the Texas Rangers at their new ballpark. Teixeira's old friend Vicente Padilla started for the visitors against Yankee A.J. Burnett.
In the second inning, after the Yankees had scored twice, Padilla hit Teixeira with a pitch. Then, with the Rangers leading 3-2 in the fourth inning, Padilla hit Teixeira again after the Yankees had tied the game. They scored seven runs that inning to put the game away.
Teixeira spoke to John Harper of the New York Daily News after the game:
"There's no reason for it," Teixeira said, measuring his words calmly at his locker. "If you can't get a guy out, don't hit him."
When Padilla was with the Philadelphia Phillies, he and Teixeira faced each other with Teixeira hitting two home runs off of the volatile pitcher. That's what started the bad feelings between them.
When the two were teammates with the Rangers, Teixeira got to know the right-hander. He reportedly didn't like him. What is worse, Teixeira had no respect for him, because Padilla would go after batters that hit him hard. The result was that Teixeira received the payback.
"It happened a lot," he said, via Harper. "The 3-4 guys in the lineup get hit in retaliation, so I got quite a few."
Teixeira can get angry, but he prefers to discuss issues rather than lose control of his emotions.
There is no question that he belongs to the group of players that hustles all time. Remember back in 2009 when the Yankees trailed the New York Mets in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, Derek Jeter on second base and Teixeira on first with A-Rod at the plate?
Rodriguez lifted an easy pop fly to short right field as Yankees fans let out a loud moan.
Teixeira didn't buy it . He assumed nothing and ran as hard as he could. Castillo dropped the pop-up. Teixeira scored to win the game.
It's a long season. Teixeira is smart. He hustles. He has desire. Don't stop believing.