Is Mark Teixeira Having a Slow Start or Is His Career in Decline?

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Is Mark Teixeira Having a Slow Start or Is His Career in Decline?
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Mark Teixeira has made too many slow walks back to the dugout.

I have seen Mark Teixeira play since his rookie season with the Texas Rangers in 2003.

I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area back then and Tex, as he was nicknamed, had a promising first season, batting .259 with 26 home runs and 84 RBI.

He started slowly, batting just .237 with five homers and 25 RBI through May. That's when he got the reputation for slow starts.

A little research, however, reveals that the perception of Teixeira as a notoriously slow starter is wrong.

That won't comfort Yankees fans who have been waiting for him to break out this season.

The cold hard facts show that Teixeira's batting average has gone down every season since he signed as a free agent with the Yankees in 2009.

The power and run production are still there. Teixeira hit 39 homers and drove in 111 runs in 2011.

The question is whether the over-shift that some teams use against him when he bats left-handed has contributed to the falling batting average or whether Teixeira, at 32, has begun the downward trek of his career.

He batted just .248 in 2011 and actually had his best stretch in April and May when he hit .257 with 16 home runs and 38 RBI.

Teixeira is hitting .234 with five home runs and 20 RBI thus far in 2012 and has shown some signs that better days are ahead.

The question is, what is his ceiling at this point in his career?

The Yankees already have to live with Alex Rodriguez's enormous salary and shrinking production. At least A-Rod is 36.

The guess is that no one in the Yankees organization is counting on Teixeira's career to begin heading south when he should still be in his prime.

The remainder of this season will give the Yankees a better idea of what they can expect from Teixeira in the future.

A month from now he may be carrying the team with his bat.

His defense at first is also still worth its weight in a Gold Glove.

Let's take a look at several of Teixeira's past seasons and see how his April and May production compare to his final statistics.

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