Tanaka on a roll, but Teixeira still hurting

Saturday was one of those good news-bad news days for the Yankees. The good news was that Masahiro Tanaka had another outstanding start in a 3-1 victory over the Twins. The bad news is that Mark Teixeira’s surgical right wrist is not getting any better.

The bad news first because, well, it is a matter of concern. Manager Joe Girardi initiated the premature removal of Teixeira from Saturday’s game when he saw feeble swings from the first baseman in his first two at-bats. Tex stayed in the game three innings more on defense before his turn in the batting order came up again and Girardi sent up Brian Roberts to hit for him.

After the game, Teixeira had a cortisone injection in the wrist in hopes of calming down the inflammation that caused him pain last week and forced Girardi to sit him down for the last three games of the trip. Teixeira got a fourth straight day off Thursday, an open date, before returning to the lineup Friday night.

Teixeira walked three times in that game, so the discomfort he felt was marginal due to his lack of contact. Soreness persisted, however, and worsened when he took batting practice Saturday. He struck out with the bases loaded in the first inning and grounded out to the right side in the third. By then, his wrist was throbbing.

Girardi said after the game that Teixeira will not play Sunday against the Twins and Phil Hughes or in Monday night’s rain-makeup game against the Mariners and see where he stands Tuesday night when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Athletics.

“It’s concerning in the short term,” Girardi said. “We hope the soreness becomes less and less the further he gets away from the surgery.”

“We’re back to square one,” said Teixeira, who noted that Sunday marks 11 months since he had the wrist surgery. “I rested for four days, and it didn’t help. You try to hold off the cortisone shot as long as you can because you can only get two of those a year. It’s what you expect a year after surgery. We’ll see how it reacts to the cortisone. If the shot doesn’t work, then I’ll be worried.”

Teixeira, a notoriously slow starter, was encouraged by his strong showing early in the season. He is battting only .242 but leads the Yankees in home runs with nine and was tied for the club RBI lead until Yangervis Solarte pulled ahead of him Saturday with his 26th on his sixth home run of the season as part of a three-hit day.

Now it is off to another waiting period for Teixeira.

The rest of the clubhouse was upbeat following another gem by Tanaka, who overcame three errors by his teammates to limit Minnesota to one unearned run, four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in eight innings to improve his record to 8-1. The Yankees are now 16-6 in games started by rookie pitchers this season. David Robertson took over in the ninth and struck out the side for his 12th save.

This was the 11th straight game in which Tanaka has pitched at least six innings and allowed three runs or fewer. Only other one pitcher has done that for a longer stretch: Expos righthander Steve Rogers in his first 16 outings in 1973. Since earned runs became an official statistic in 1913, Tanaka is the first pitcher to produce such an outing
in each of his first 11 games or first 11 starts with the Yankees. The last Yankees pitcher to produce such a start in 10 consecutive games at any point in his career was CC Sabathia, who did so in 16 consecutive games in 2010 from June 3 through Aug. 22.

And the Yankees sure like it when the lights are off. They are 14-5 in day games this year. Over the past four seasons, their record in day games of 122-61 is the best in the major leagues.

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