Mark Teixeira Eases His Pace and, Eventually, His Temper


Photo

Mark Teixeira being tagged out by the Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos on Monday. A coach had told Teixeira not to expect a play at the plate.

Credit
Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

ARLINGTON, Tex. — For a franchise that once had a manager, Billy Martin, and a star outfielder, Reggie Jackson, who nearly came to blows in the dugout — a moment that remains indelible nearly 40 years later — this was pillow talk.

But when Mark Teixeira, who was thrown out after having been told by the third-base coach Joe Espada to take it easy as he rounded third, knocked over a trash can in the dugout and then criticized Espada to reporters after Monday night’s win, it was a rare moment of public discord for this generation of Yankees.

As freewheeling and in-your-face (and one another’s, too) as the Yankees may have been during the 1970s and ’80s, their image in recent years might be described as “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

It was epitomized by Manager Joe Girardi, who was asked about the incident when he met with reporters immediately after Monday’s 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers.

“He’s fine,” Girardi said. “He’s O.K. It’s O.K.”

Asked two more times, Girardi, making clear that he would not discuss the incident further, repeated, “It’s O.K.”

It apparently was not, because Teixeira, speaking to reporters a few minutes later, minced no words when he was asked if there had been miscommunication on the play, on which he eased up as he neared home only to have to slide at the last minute when he realized a throw was coming.

“There was no miscommunication,” Teixeira said. “Joe just told me, ‘Easy, easy,’ which means there’s going to be no play at the plate. It’s just a mistake.”

As Teixeira continued his criticism, he sounded like a schoolmarm rapping a student on the knuckles with a ruler. “I love Joe Espada,” Teixeira said. “He apologized, and it’s over with. But it’s a big mistake.”

Espada, 38, is only three years older than Teixeira. He is in his first season as the Yankees’ third-base coach and infield coach, having joined the organization a year ago as a special assistant to General Manager Brian Cashman. Before that, he was the Marlins’ third-base coach for four seasons.

Since the early days of spring training, the Yankees have pointed to the good chemistry that has evolved in this group, which no longer has the presence of Derek Jeter to jell around and includes many newcomers.

Alex Rodriguez has been on his best behavior and has provided plenty of laughs — often at his own expense. The young players mix with the old, those of various ethnic backgrounds with one another. When Carlos Beltran recently had a charity event, most players attended. The next night, most of them gathered at C. C. Sabathia’s home.

“We have a great bunch of guys here,” Rodriguez said Monday. “It’s an amazing clubhouse.”

A moment like Monday night’s might suggest otherwise, but Girardi said Tuesday that even the best clubhouses had their quarrels.

“You put 40 grown men in a room for 190 straight days, there’s going to be some things that happen,” Girardi said. “There’s intensity and emotion. As a player, there’s been times where I’ve said things I wish, ‘Man, I probably could have done something different.’ ”

He added: “To me, it’s all about your heart and where your heart really is. Tex displays a lot of intensity every day he plays, and we understand that.”

That may be, but Teixeira is also a veteran who is well aware of the modern clubhouse code, which in any case is written on the visitors’ clubhouse wall: What you see, hear and say here stays here.

Teixeira said one of the many reasons he was so upset was that he could have been injured.

Teixeira has had a resurgent season, with 24 home runs and 65 runs batted in going into Tuesday’s game, but the memory of recent injury-plagued seasons remains fresh in his mind. The sight of the Rangers might not have been comforting, either — it was against them that he tore his hamstring while running the bases during the 2010 playoffs.

Monday night was frustrating all around for Teixeira. Center fielder Leonys Martin, who threw him out at the plate, leapt at the wall to steal a possible home run from him in the first inning. Teixeira, who threw his hands in the air after Martin’s catch, then watched in disbelief in his next at-bat when his line drive up the middle was picked off by shortstop Elvis Andrus. Then another deep drive was caught by right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, whose back was two feet from the wall.

“It was one of those unfortunate things,” infielder Brendan Ryan said. “Tex has a lot of pride, and nobody wants to be embarrassed on something like that, but it’s not like Joe doesn’t care. I’m sure he felt terrible about it. The bottom line is we love them both.”

Teixeira and Espada indicated Monday night that the incident, while regrettable, would be quickly forgotten. Girardi said that the matter had been discussed and that a page had been turned.

Just who talked?

“I’m not going to go into it,” Girardi said. “We all talked about it. We’re good.”

Apparently there is nothing more to see or hear. Time to move along — although at a pace faster than Teixeira heading for home.



Source link

About admin

Check Also

Simone Biles Says She, Too, Was Abused by Larry Nassar

“U.S.A. Gymnastics’ support is unwavering for Simone and all athletes who courageously came forward to ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *