In order to beat the shift, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira claims he’s going to do the previously unfathomable: bunt.
"I've been so against it my entire career, but I might lay down a few bunts," Teixeira conceded Tuesday night. "If I can beat the shift that way, that’s important."
Teixeira hit just .191 this season as a left-handed hitter with no men on, according to Mark Simon from ESPN Stats & Info. So clearly, Teixeira going to have to make some changes.
It's a decision the switch-hitter says he made on his own.
"Kevin [Long] and I made the decision of squaring myself up, and so when I'm open, I see the pull side a lot better, and that right-field porch is just so enticing at Yankee Stadium," Teixeira said. "I'm not going to complain about hitting 39 home runs, but I'd love to bring my [.248] average up, and it's very simple, it's left-handed singles.
"And also just not trying to hook the ball so much left-handed. When you have maybe a 1-2 pitch, instead of driving the ball in the gap and driving in the runs, take that single to left. It's easier than it sounds, but one hit a week really adds up."
So when’s the last time Teixeira bunted?
"I think I was a freshman in high school and I got a sac bunt and I actually beat it out. That was my last bunt in a game that I laid down," Teixeira said.
Teixeira plans to practice bunting in spring training, and he believes the only way he can really hone the craft is by facing live pitching.
"We play 30 spring training games and I'll play in about 20 of them," Teixeira said. "Maybe I'll lay down 20 bunts. But if I go 1-for-20, I may have to go back to the drawing board."
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Teixeira tweeted Tuesday that he lost 14 pounds this offseason.
"I didn't feel like I needed to, but I'm always trying to get better. I know that the older that I get, the more important nutrition is, any chance I get to make myself lighter, faster, more energy, is going to be better for my game. It just kind of happened. I started changing my diet a little bit, I started drinking a lot more raw juice. It really helped."
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So … about that whole Pineda-Montero trade?
"You're never surprised in baseball. I've been traded twice. A lot of great players have been traded," Teixeira said. "Montero's got a chance to be special, but so does Pineda, and that's what we’re banking on."
Teixeira went 2-for-3 off Pineda last season with a home run and a strikeout.
"He has an electric fastball, really good slider and he's so big," Teixeira said. "Any pitcher that's that big that can throw that hard, his margin for error is gonna be a lot bigger than everyone else's. He can go out there and not even have his best stuff. But when you're 6-7 and throw 97, you're gonna get outs."