Mark Teixeira has been plagued by slow starts throughout his career. The slugging first baseman is hoping to change all that with a productive first spring training with the New York Yankees.
Teixeira, who signed an eight-year deal worth $180 million in the offseason, hit his second spring home run and raised his Grapefruit League average to .391 as the Yankees defeated the Atlanta Braves 6-4 on Saturday in Kissimmee, Fla.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time in the cage and my swing is coming around,” Teixeira said.
Teixeira has hit .259 with 18 homers and 64 RBIs in April, his lowest totals by far for any full month in his six-year career.
“By opening day, I should be about where I want,” he said. “It takes a while when you are a switch-hitter.”
He was 2 for 2 and walked against Braves starter Jair Jurrjens.
His homer came on the first pitch of the fifth inning and sailed well over the fence in right-center field.
“We’ve got a great lineup and I’m going to get pitches to hit all season,” Teixeira said.
“We should score a lot of runs.”
The Yankees and Braves both had injury scares to key players. Atlanta All-Star catcher Brian McCann had to leave in the first after being struck on the right ring finger by a foul tip by Teixeira, but said it was just a bruise.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter bruised a knuckle on his left pinkie when he was involved in a collision at first base leading off the game. He left after three innings, but isn’t expected to miss any time.
Nats rotation set
Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann won the last two spots in Washington’s starting rotation.
The Nationals also placed outfielder Wily Mo Pena on waivers, and reassigned infielder Jose Castillo and outfielder Corey Patterson to minor league camp.
Catcher Javier Valentin also was reassigned, but opted out to become a free agent.
Clearing the bases
Los Angeles Angels ace John Lackey received a cortisone shot in his right elbow in an attempt to relieve the pain in his ailing arm, and it’s uncertain when he’ll pitch again. … San Francisco sent catcher Ronny Paulino to Florida for minor league right-handed pitcher Hector Correa. The deal was announced Saturday after Paulino was traded Friday night to the Giants from Philadelphia for left-hander Jack Taschner.