Mark Teixeira: Bury me in pinstripes

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira says he will not waive his full no-trade clause under any circumstances, trying to put to rest any further speculation that he could be dealt for the St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols.

"I'm not going anywhere," Teixeira said as Yankees position players reported on Saturday. "I got that no-trade for a reason. I'm going to be buried in these pinstripes. You know what, I would be disappointed if the fans of New York weren't looking to make our team better, but they've just got to know I'm not leaving."

ESPNNewYork.com, citing a baseball official, reported earlier this week the Yankees would not explore a trade for Pujols.

The Yankees -- even after Cliff Lee shunned them and Andy Pettitte retired -- will enter the season with an industry-leading payroll approaching $200 million. Still, Teixeira used the U-word to describe the team.

"We're the underdogs this year," Teixeira said. "I love it. No one is picking us right now. Everyone in here should be looking forward to winning a championship. When you put on the pinstripes that is exactly what your goal should be every year. I think everyone understands that just because the public may not be picking us it doesn't mean we don't believe it in here."

Should they be underdogs in the AL East?

"We didn't win last year," Teixeira said. "We played terrible in the playoffs. We didn't win the division. Our goal is to win the division and we have to re-prove ourselves this year, which is going to be fun for all of us.

"No one is going to feel sorry for us. No one is going to say, 'Poor Yankees. They didn't get this guy. They didn't get that guy. They didn't win a World Series. They always have a bull's-eye on their back.' We should. We should expect to win every single year. ... We are the gold standard in baseball and we have to live up to that."

Teixiera's season ended earlier than the Yankees' when he hurt his hamstring in Game 4 of the ALCS versus the Texas Rangers. He also had a broken toe and a thumb injury.

"It was pretty rough," Teixeira said. "It is over. I play hard. I'm going to get hit with pitches. I'm going to dive and jam stuff. You have to play through it and hope for the best."

Teixeira, who'll be 31 on April 11, changed his offseason program, hitting more in the cage than he ever has before. "My left-handed swing was so inconsistent last year," he said. "It was not a fun year for me."

Teixeira, who hit .244 from the left side last season compared to .277 for his career, bought a batting machine and cage for Bobby Valentine's Sports Complex in Stamford, Conn. Teixeira said the great thing was when he didn't leave his home, kids could use it.

"They make sure when I'm in there I get the cage to myself," Teixeira said.

Teixeira has also been a very slow starter in his career. His .235 average in March and April is by far his lowest in any month. Last year he hit .136 in that time frame.

"April hasn't been fun for me the last few years," Teixeira said. "I don't enjoy failing. I want to get a hit every time up. This spring training, I told [hitting coach Kevin Long] give me some tough love if you need to."