Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira will not return this season after tests showed that he has a fracture in his right shin, GM Brian Cashman told reporters including Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). It’s expected that he’ll require three months to recover, Jack Curry of the YES Network adds on Twitter, meaning that he should be ready to go for the spring.
The loss of the 35-year-old puts a dent in New York’s efforts to keep pace with the Blue Jays in the AL East. He had rebounded from two straight marginal seasons with an excellent .255/.357/.548 batting line and 31 home runs in 462 plate appearances. The switch hitter has been out since fouling a ball off of his shin on August 17th, but it seems the significance of the injury was only just detected.
Replacing that level of production is nearly impossible, of course, but 22-year-old Greg Bird has been solid in his first 94 big league plate appearances. Bird, who hits from the left side, owns a .241/.319/.458 slash with five long balls. He has been relied upon heavily in Teixeira’s absence, appearing in every single game since the veteran went down.
While Bird figures to hold down the position in the long run, assuming he can build upon a promising start to his major league career, the Yanks will no doubt give Teixeira every opportunity to retake the position next spring. Next year will be the last of the eight-year, $180MM deal he signed before the 2009 season. New York owes him $22.5MM for the 2016 campaign. Both players could conceivably share time in the field, with the other taking swings from the DH slot, though veterans Carlos Beltran and (especially) Alex Rodriguez factor heavily in that role.