The New York Yankees already knew they would be without star first baseman Mark Teixeira for at least two months.
Now, the team has to face the possibility that the slugger could miss the entire 2013 season with a wrist injury.
Wallace Matthews of ESPN shares the latest:
The injury that will keep New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira out of the lineup until May at the earliest is not a wrist strain, as originally reported, but a partially torn tendon sheath that could potentially require season-ending surgery.
As of now, the Yankees are still expecting Teixeira to heal without needing an operation and to rejoin the club after about 8-10 weeks of healing time.
But Teixeira, who arrived at spring camp Sunday morning with his right wrist in a cast-like splint and will rehab there for the rest of the spring, raised the possibility that his absence could be longer than that.
Per Matthews' report, team doctors told general manager Brian Cashman that Teixeira shouldn't need surgery since the tendon was still stable. Were that tendon not stable, Teixeira would automatically require surgery.
If Teixeira misses the entire upcoming season, the Yankees are in serious trouble.
Already dealing with injuries to Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez—and playing in arguably the best division in baseball, the AL East—the Yankees can ill-afford to be without a slugger like Teixeira in the middle of the lineup.
While Teixeira's batting average has steadily declined—he has hit below .260 in three straight seasons—he remains a consistent source of power production for the Yankees.
Can the Yankees make the playoffs if Mark Teixeira has season-ending surgery?
Last season broke his streak of hitting at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI in eight straight seasons, though he still managed 24 home runs and 84 RBI in 123 games.
The Yankees are clearly an older squad with a closing window, at least with this current core. If players like Teixeira and Rodriguez don't even play this season, that window may have already closed.
Can an aging, banged-up Yankees team compete with the Boston Red Sox, the upstart Baltimore Orioles, the revamped—and totally stacked—Toronto Blue Jays squad and the always competitive Tampa Bay Rays?
That remains to be seen.
But if Teixeira cannot play this season, the odds of the Yankees finishing atop the AL East just dwindled significantly.