Results tagged ‘ Eddie Murray ’

Yanks to honor Teixeira before regular-season finale

The Yankees will honor Mark Teixeira in a ceremony prior to their 3:05 p.m. game Sunday, Oct. 2, against the Orioles. Teixeira, 36, will retire as a player at the end of the 2016 season.

He joined the Yankees as a free agent Jan. 6, 2009 when he signed an eight-year contract. In that time, Teixeira has batted .248 with 530 runs, 183 doubles, five triples, 203 home runs, 615 RBI, 472 walks, a .343 on-base percentage and .820 OPS in 948 regular-season games and 3,494 at-bats. The Yankees’ record during Tex’s tenure is 542-406 (.572).

With the Yankees, he earned three Gold Gloves (2009-10, ’12) and a Silver Slugger (2009), and was named to two American League All-Star teams (2009, ’15). As part of the Yankees’ World Series-winning team in 2009, Teixeira finished second in American League Most Valuable Player Award voting. He led the AL with 122 RBI (including a league-leading 31 go-ahead RBI) and tied for the league lead with 39 home runs. He also hit an 11th-inning “walk-off” home run to win Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the Twins.

In franchise history, Teixeira is tied with Roger Maris for 15th place in home runs, trailing only Lou Gehrig (493), Don Mattingly (222) and Jason Giambi (209) among players whose primary position was first base. Along with Maris, Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez, Tex was one of four Yankees all-time to hit at least 30 home runs in each of his first three seasons with the club.

Originally drafted by Texas as the fifth overall pick of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Teixeira has played 14 seasons in the majors with the Rangers (2003-07), Braves (2007-08), Angels (2008) and Yankees (2009-present) and batted .268 with 1,096 runs, 406 doubles, 18 triples, 406 home runs, 1,291 RBI, 914 walks, a .360 on-base percentage and an .869 OPS in 1,852 games and 6,908 at-bats. He is a three-time All-Star (also 2005), five-time Gold Glove winner (also 2005-06) and three-time Silver Slugger winner (also 2004-05).

Only four switch-hitters in baseball history have more home runs than Teixeira (Mickey Mantle-536, Eddie Murray-504, Chipper Jones-468 and former teammate Carlos Beltran-419) and only four players have more home runs since his debut in 2003 (Albert Pujols-519, David Ortiz-479, Miguel Cabrera-441, Adam Dunn-417).

A Maryland native who now lives on Greenwich, Conn., Teixeira has been actively involved in charitable endeavors throughout his career, including participation on the Board of Directors of Harlem RBI, supporting a scholarship fund at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, and creating a scholarship at his high school, Mt. St. Joseph, in the name of his friend Nick Liberatore, who passed away in a car accident while the two were in school together.

Teixeira’s battered body told him it was time

Upon reflection of when his playing days were nearing an end, Yankees manager Joe Girardi recalled praying that it would be revealed to him when to retire. Then he hurt his back. The daily struggle to stay healthy was all he needed to know that the time to walk away had come.

It is never easy for a gifted athlete who has known success at a high level. Many of them need to have the uniform torn off them before they can admit it is over. Mark Teixeira was not like that. He was more like Girardi.

“My body can’t do it anymore,” Teixeira said before Friday night’s game at Yankee Stadium. “It has been a struggle to stay on the field the last three or four years.”

That is why Teixeira called a late-afternoon press conference where he announced that he will retire at the end of this season. With the Yankees in a period of transition, he did not want to be a distraction. Tex has dealt with neck and knee issues all year. In recent seasons, he has seen more of the trainer’s room that he would like.

I remember Don Mattingly telling me years ago when back issues pushed him towards retirement that it took so much more energy and work to get into the shape needed for the 162-game grind of the Major League Baseball schedule that he knew it was time to walk away, as difficult as that was to do.

“Every kid playing whiffle ball in the backyard or playing Little League, you dream of being a major league baseball player,” Teixeira said. “After 14 years it’s time for me to do something else and after this season I’m going to retire and do something else. I got to live out my dream and had more success than I could ever imagined, but it felt like it was the right time to step away from the game. I want to finish this season on a high note.”

Teixeira, who had a big game Wednesday night only to be on the sidelines again Thursday night because of a sore knee, talked it over with Girardi and told him how he was leaning.

“Are you sure,” Girardi said to Teixeira. “At this point in a season, players are banged up and think along those lines.”

Teixeira assured Girardi he was certain about his decision and then added, “I’ll do whatever you need me to do. What would that be?”

Girardi answered, “Play first base.”

So Teixeira was back in the lineup Friday night. He intends to play out the season as much as his aching knee and neck allow. Tex has been playing with a cartilage tear in his right knee since early June. His neck sprain is a chronic condition.

It was just a year ago that a trimmed-down Teixeira belted 31 home runs and was in the discussion for American League Most Valuable Player consideration entering August, but a foul ball off his knee caused more damage that originally thought that ended his season prematurely.

He has struggled offensively much of this season and entered play Friday night batting .198 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. Tex has picked it up lately. He has reached safely in six consecutive plate appearances and eight of his past nine. He was on base in nine of 13 plate appearances in his three Subway Series games against the Mets. Over his past eight games, Teixeira has had a slash line of .333/.484/.542 with five runs, two doubles, one home run and four RBI in 24 at-bats.

His 400th career double Tuesday night at Citi Field made him the first switch-hitter in major league history with 400 career doubles and 400 career home runs. His 404 homers rank fifth on the switch hitter list behind Mickey Mantle (536), Eddie Murray (504), Chipper Jones (468) and former Yankees teammate Carlos Beltran (415).

Teixeira grew up a Murray fan in Annapolis, Md., and was encouraged to switch-hit by his father, whom he thanked in a tearful address. “I need to let you know,” he said. “The Teixeira’s are cryers.”

He thanked the Rangers, who drafted him in the first round and signed him in 2001, and Buck Showalter, his manager in Texas who showed patience after Teixeira started his career with 15 hitless at-bats but finished the season with 26 home runs. He called second stop Atlanta his second home since he attended Georgia Tech and married a Georgia girl. He thanked the Angels for “two fabulous months” in 2008 and giving him his first taste of postseason play.

But it was his time with the Yankees that he loved most. Signing an eight-year contract prior to the 2009 season, he finished second in the MVP race that year with a 39-homer, 122-RBI output for the most recent Yankees team to win the World Series.

“2009 was a whirlwind, winning the World Series in the first year of the new Stadium,” Teixeira said. “I probably didn’t appreciate it as much at the time because you think you’ll win three or four more.”

The only personal achievement Teixeira mentioned was the pride he had in having eight seasons of more than 30 homers and 100 RBI.

Yet all that seemed so far away as the injuries piled up. And with free agency lurking after season’s end, Teixeira decided this was the moment to call it a career once the schedule is finished.

“Being a free agent at season’s end, and being 36, retirement is always in the back of your mind,” he said. “If I have to grind through the season not being healthy, I’d rather be somewhere else. I did not want to be a distraction. I would miss my kids way too much to be in some training room in Detroit not knowing if I can play while they’re in Little League or a play or something.”

With the Yankees in this period of transition, there is always the possibility a contending team might be interested in a player who won five Gold Glove and three Silver Slugger Awards and was a three-time All-Star.

“There has been no conversation about a trade, but I want to retire as a Yankee,” Teixeira said. “There is something about the Yankees. When you play against them you want to beat them or play well at Yankee Stadium. It was an unbelievable blessing to get to wear the pinstripes every day.”

Tex also had a message to Yankees fans: “They are the greatest fans in the world. I was far from perfect, but I appreciated your support. I gave you everything I had. It wasn’t always enough, but I tried very hard and am proud to have such fans rooting for the Yankees.”

And soon he will be among them.

“I’ll be watching,” Teixeira said. “I’ll be a Yankees fan forever.”

Yankees obtain 3 more prospects for Beltran

On the day of the first Subway Series game in 2016, the best position player of those who spent time with both the Yankees and the Mets was on his way out of New York again. Carlos Beltran, the Yankees’ most productive hitter this season, followed the path of relief pitchers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller and was traded for three prospects.

Beltran was a major trade chip for the Yankees, particularly to American League clubs that could use him at designated hitter as well as in the outfield. The Rangers have been in need of added punch at the plate since Prince Fielder was lost for the remainder of the season due to a neck injury that required surgery.

Beltran will certainly provide that for Texas. At the age of 39 and despite nagging leg issues, Beltran hit .304 in 359 at-bats for the Yankees and led the team in hits (109), home runs (22) and runs batted in (64) and was tied for the club lead in doubles (21). He was an All-Star for the ninth time in his career and the first time as an American Leaguer.

Earlier this season, he reached 20 homers for the 12th time in his career (1999, 2001-04, ’06-08, ’11-13 and ’16), tied with former teammate Mark Teixeira for the fourth-most 20-homer seasons all time among switch-hitters. Eddie Murray had 16 such seasons, and Mickey Mantle and Chipper Jones 14 apiece. Beltran also became the second switch-hitter in major league history with a 20-homer season at age 39-or-older, joining Murray (21 homers at 39 in 1995 and 22HR at 40 in ’96).

Beltran was a five-time National League All-Star during his seven-plus seasons with the Mets. Only Darryl Strawberry rivals him as a major position player on both New York teams. The best pitcher who was on both clubs was David Cone, with Dwight Gooden a close second.

Of the four players the Yankees received in return for Beltran, the most promising is pitcher Dillon Tate, a righthander who was the Rangers’ selection in the first round (and the fourth overall pick) in the 2015 First Year Player Draft. The Yankees also got two other right-handed pitchers, Erik Swanson and Nick Green.

Tate, 22, was 3-3 with a 5.12 ERA (65.0IP, 37ER) in 17 games (16 starts) and 65 innings with Class A Hickory this year. He made his professional debut in 2015, posting a 1.00 ERA over six starts and nine innings with Hickory and short-season Class A Spokane. Entering the 2015 draft, Tate was tabbed by Baseball America as the top pitcher and third-best prospect overall. Following the 2015 season, the Claremont, Calif., native was ranked by the publication as baseball’s 69th-best prospect.

During his collegiate career at the University of California-Santa Barbara, Tate was named a 2015 Louisville Slugger All-America and UCSB’s first-ever Golden Spikes Award semifinalist after going 8-5 with a 2.26 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 14 starts and 103 1/3 innings as a junior. In 2014, he earned a spot on USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, recording three saves while posting a 0.79 ERA in 11 appearances. The highest selection ever out of UCSB, Tate is a product of Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., where he played in tournaments across the United States and Japan as a teenager.

Swanson, 22, was 6-4 with one save and a 3.43 ERA (81.1IP, 31ER) in 19 games (15 starts) and 81 1/3 innings with Hickory in 2016 and was a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star. The Terrace Park, Ohio, native was originally selected by the Rangers in the eighth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. Over three minor league seasons, he has combined to go 8-6 with two saves and a 3.52 ERA in 44 games (15 starts) and 120 innings.

Green, 21, was 2-2 with a 4.98 ERA in seven starts totaling 34 1/3 innings with Spokane in 2016. Originally selected by Texas in the seventh round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, Green has posted a 6-8 record and 5.15 ERA in 31 career appearances (21 starts) and 108 1/3 innings over three minor league seasons. The Fountain, Colo., native was previously drafted by the Yankees in the 35th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft but did not sign.

In another transaction designed towards the future, the Yanks traded pitcher Ivan Nova to the Pirates for two players to be named. The Yankees added relief pitcher Tyler Clippard, who they acquired from the Diamondbacks Sunday, to the 25-man roster and recalled pitcher Nick Goody and outfielder Ben Gamel from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not say who would replace Nova in the rotation. The candidates are Luis Severino and Chad Green. The manager was also unclear how he would replace Beltran.

“We lost the most important hitter in our lineup,” Girardi said. “This is a chance for young players to step up. I believe we can still win with the players in that room.”

Teixeira posts 2nd straight 3-hit, 2-HR game

When the Yankees scored 21 runs Tuesday night at Arlington, Texas, Mark Teixeira did not have one of the the team’s 19 hits. He did reach base twice on a walk and being hit by a pitch and scored both times but essentially was left out of all the fun.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave Teixeira Wednesday night off, and the first baseman has been on fire ever since. Tex pounded two home runs Thursday night in a 7-6 loss to the Rangers and put on a major show Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field.

The Yankees broke out of the gate with a rush and kept it up for a 13-6 victory over the White Sox. Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brendan Ryan had three hits apiece in the Yanks’ 18-hit attack. Alex Rodriguez reached base in all five of his plate appearances (double, single, three walks) and scored four runs. Nathan Eovaldi improved his record to 11-2 despite needing 117 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings.

Two more home runs came off the bat of Teixeira, who also doubled and walked and knocked in six runs. The switch hitter homered from both sides of the plate in a game for the 14th time in his career, breaking the major league record he had shared with former teammate Nick Swisher. It was also the 41st multi-homer game in Teixeira’s career. The only switch hitter with more is Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle with 46.

Teixeira’s first homer was a grand slam as part of a five-run second inning that staked Evoldi to a 6-0 lead. Tex greeted reliever Matt Albers in the fourth with a two-run blast. The Yankees batted around in both innings and totaled 10 runs.

This marks Teixeira’s 10th season with at least 25 homers and his first since 2011 when he bashed 39. He is tied with Mantle and Chipper Jones for the second most 25-homer seasons for a switch hitter. The all-time leader is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray with 12.

Tex has had multiple hits in eight of 12 games since July 18 and is batting .457 with 12 runs, six doubles, six home runs, 11 RBI and six walks in 46 at-bats over that span to raise his season batting average from .239 to .269.

Coming back from two sub-par, injury-riddled seasons, Teixeira has been touted as a candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year. However, with 28 home runs and 73 RBI with 60 games left on the schedule, Tex is a solid candidate for the American League Most Valuable Player Award. Try to imagine where the Yankees would be without him.

Matsui gets early trip to Cooperstown

Former Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui will be among players representing all 30 major-league teams May 24 at the Memorial Day Weekend’s 2014 Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Phil Niekro, who earned his 300th career victory during his time pitching for the Yankees, will be one of six Hall of Fame members who will serve as managers and coaches for the sixth annual Classic. Roberto Alomar, Andre Dawson, Rollie Finges, Eddie Murray and Ozzie Smith will also participate in the event.

To date, the lineup for the 2014 Hall of Fame Classic features players who combined to collect two Most Valuable Player Awards, three World Series MVPs, two All-Star Game MVPs, 56 All-Star Game selections and 18 Gold Glove Awards.

In addition to Matsui and former Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano, the rosters include Livan Hernandez, Jeff Conine, Brad Lidge, David Eckstein, Luis Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Steve Garvey and Jim Thome. Roster additions will be announced throughout the spring.

The Cooperstown Game Day Parade starts at 12 noon leading up to the Home Run Derby at 1 p.m. followed by the Classic at 2:05 p.m.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Classic are $12.50 for first and third base seats and $11 for general admission outfield seats. Tickets are currently available via phone or online.

Two ticket packages for the Hall of Fame Classic and Night at the Museum are now available, but limited in quantity:

Classic Connection will feature Hall of Fame Classic ticket and a one-day museum admission pass for $12.50, a savings of $19.50 off the regular rate. Legendary Twinbill features a Hall of Fame Classic ticket, a one-day museum admission pass and a ticket to A Night at the Museum for $50.

Call 877-726-9028 or order online at

Yanks fail to follow Jeter’s ‘lead’

Yankees manager Joe Girardi has been beset by questions from some reporters about why he is not using Ichiro Suzuki as his leadoff hitter, even though the point was made clear at the time of the trade that brought the Japanese outfielder from Seattle that he would bat in the lower third of the order.

Still, queries persisted because Girardi was toying with the lineup because the absence of disabled third baseman Alex Rodriguez left the batting order a bit too left-handed, and the manager was trying to figure out ways to break up all those lefty hitters. One idea was to use Curtis Granderson in the leadoff spot, an experiment that fizzled, so Jeter went back to the top spot.

When Ichiro got hot during the past homestand, the issue came up again. You would have thought by now that these people would have realized that the Yankees already have a pretty good leadoff hitter. Suzuki certainly was a sensational leadoff hitter in his prime years with the Mariners, but he is putting up nowhere near the numbers that Jeter is this season.

Despite turning 38, Jeter is having the caliber season he enjoyed 10 years ago. DJ hit the first pitch from lefthander Francisco Liriano Tuesday night for a home run, his 12th of the season. It was also his 3,256th hit, which pushed him past Eddie Murray into 11th place on the all-time list. No. 10 is Willie Mays at 3,283.

Jeter is now exactly 1,000 hits behind career leader Pete Rose, who also reached Jeter’s total at age 38 but played until he was 45. Jeter’s contract with the Yankee runs through 2013 with a player option for 2014, the year he would turn 40. Whether DJ will keep playing well into his 40s remains to be seen, but he has always cared more about winning games than personal goals.

I have always thought Rose’s coolest record is that he played on the winning side in the most games – 1,972. Jeter is at 1,525 victories, so he would have to play probably five more years for a legitimate shot at besting that mark.

But when it comes to leadoff hitting (and Rose was awfully good at that, too), Jeter is having a terrific season. He is batting .396 with five home runs in 111 at-bats leading off games with a .412 on-base average and a .613 slugging percentage. That gives the Captain an OPS of 1.025 in those situations. For his career leading off games, Jeter is a .356 hitter with 29 home runs in 873 at-bats with a .403 on-base average and a .523 slugging percentage for a .926 OPS.

Overall in his career, Jeter is batting .311 with 99 home runs in 3,972 at-bats as a leadoff hitter. He has batted most often in the 2-hole (5,348 at-bats) where he has hit .315 with 135 home runs. There is not that much of a difference. Jeter is clearly just as good batting first as batting second.

Unfortunately Tuesday night, after Jeter’s homer they did not do much else. They got a second run in the first inning, but for the second straight night they failed to keep that 2-0 lead. Their only other run in the 7-3 loss was a solo home run by Russell Martin in the seventh. The past 10 home runs for the Yankees have come up with the bases empty. The last home run they hit with a runner on base was Aug. 16, a two-run shot by Andruw Jones.

It was a bases-loaded home run by Kevin Youkilis in the fifth inning off Ivan Nova that shot the White Sox toward the victory. The Sox have been beating the Yankees at their own game with six home runs the past two games. DeWayne Wise, who was let go by the Yanks when they dealt for Suzuki, had four hits for Chicago and is 6-for-10 (.600) in the series. The Yankees kept their four-game lead in the American League East because the Rays’ five-game winning streak came to an end in a 1-0, 10-inning loss to the Royals.

Jeter’s 4-hit game lone bright spot in loss to Chisox

With each game it seems Derek Jeter reaches another milestone. He hit a pair of them in the first inning alone Monday night at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field in a four-hit game that was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing game for the Yankees. They blew leads of 3-0 and 6-5 with the White Sox using four home runs to construct a 9-6 victory as the Yanks’ lead in the American League East fell to four games over Tampa Bay.

Jeter led off the game with a single, which he does a lot. DJ is hitting .391 in 110 at-bats leading off games in 2012 and .355 in 872 at-bats for his career. The hit was career No. 3,252 for Jeter, who tied Nap Lajoie for 12th place on the all-time list. Jeter eventually scored on a two-out single by Mark Teixeira. That was career run No. 1,844 for Jeter as he tied Craig Biggio for 13th place on that all-time list.

It did not take Jeter long to break the tie with Lajoie with an infield single in the third for his 3,253rd career hit which left him only two behind No. 11 Eddie Murray. The Captain still has a way to go to catch the 12th-place guy in runs, Mel Ott, at 1,859.

Teixeira returned to the lineup after sitting out the weekend series at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox to nurse a sore left wrist. Curtis Granderson singled in a run in the second as the Yanks took a 3-0 lead against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who was surrounded by base runners in his brief time on the mound.

Considering that Floyd allowed five hits, four walks and a hit batter, the Yankees should have done better than to just knock him out of the game one out into the third inning, but they stranded eight runners over the first five innings against Floyd and left-handed reliever Hector Santiago.

Freddy Garcia was cruising along until he hit a wall with one out in the fifth. After getting his eighth strikeout for the first out of the inning, Garcia put the next five batters on base. DeWayne Wise started Chicago’s comeback with a two-run home run off his former teammate. Wise had been a valuable utility outfielder for the Yankees before he was designated for assignment last month to create roster space for Ichiro Suzuki, who was acquired from the Mariners.

Garcia was replaced after loading the bases on a single and two walks. Manager Joe Girardi went to his bullpen using Cody Eppley, Clay Rapada and Joba Chamberlain, but after a force play and two singles the White Sox had taken a 5-3 lead.

Jeter led the Yankees’ comeback with a home run, his 11th, leading off the sixth, crawling one hit behind Murray. It was also Jeter’s 251st home run, which pushed him past Graig Nettles into ninth place on the franchise list. Ironically, it came on Nettles’ 68th birthday. The Yankees added two more runs on singles by Teixeira and pinch hitter Casey McGehee.

Chamberlain’s continuing troubles cost the Yankees the lead in the bottom of the sixth. He had given up a run-scoring single the previous inning and was taken deep by Gordon Beckham that tied the score again. Opposing hitters are batting .455 against Chamberlain, whose ERA swelled to 9.45.

Other relievers had problems, too. Boone Logan was touched for a two-run home run by Alexei Ramirez in the seventh inning and Derek Lowe yielded a solo shot to Adam Dunn in the eighth.

Jeter got even with Murray in lifetime hits when he doubled with two out in the seventh for his fourth hit of the game and 3,255th of his career. Cap leads the majors in hits with 167, five more than he had all of last year, and ranks third in the majors with 51 multi-hit games, six more than his 2011 total.

Jeet, A-Rod reach milestones on same play

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez combined on a couple of milestones in the first inning of Saturday night’s Subway Series game as the Yankees jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the Mets.

Jeter ended a 0-for-17 slump with a leadoff single to center off Mets righthander Dillon Gee, who had trouble with the rubber on the mound and balked Jeter to second. After Curtis Granderson lined out to first baseman Ike Davis, Rodriguez hit a ground single through the middle to score Jeter.

It was A-Rod’s 1,917th run batted in of his career, which tied him with Hall of Famer Eddie Murray for seventh place on the all-time list since RBI became an official statistic in 1920. Rodriguez is only seven RBI behind another Hall of Famer, Jimmie Foxx, in sixth place.

The run for Jeter was career No. 1,800, which placed him above Hall of Famer Ted Williams into 17th place on the all-time list. Next up is No. 16 Carl Yastrzemski, yet another Hall of Famer, with 1,816.

Once a player gets to those levels on these lists, nearly everyone they pass is a Hall of Famer. Except for Pete Rose, that is.

Phil responds to competition

Something a coach told me years ago has always stayed with me. “There’s nothing like a little competition,” he said.

That’s one thing about baseball. Even in an era of guaranteed contracts, each player is always playing for his job. There always seems to be somebody right behind your back waiting for a chance to take your place.

Perhaps that thought hit Phil Hughes this week when the Yankees recalled Ivan Nova from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to pitch the evening portion of Saturday’s dual-admission doubleheader against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Nova pitched well, too, which was no surprise considering he was the team’s second leading winner at the time he was optioned to make roster space for Hughes, who has been only okay since returning from the disabled list.

Perhaps it was just coincidence, but in his first mound appearance since Nova worked himself back into the rotation mix Hughes resembled the pitcher he was in 2010 when he won 18 games. Hughes had his most muscular fastball of the season and seemed to pitch with a renewed purpose Tuesday night at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field.

Granted, the White Sox don’t exactly throw Murderers’ Row out there, but even they got a couple of runs off Cy Young Award candidate CC Sabathia Monday night. Not against Hughes, though. Phil limited the Chisox to three singles through six innings before rain halted play. He did not walk a batter and struck out four while throwing an economic 65 pitches.

Hughes could have probably given the Yankees another inning or two except for the weather brains at the Cell who ordered the field covered before the game in preparation for thunderstorm activity that did not surface for hours. If not for the 45-minute delay despite not a drop of rain before the first pitch, the teams might have avoided another delay when the rain finally arrived with a vengeance in the middle of the seventh inning and finished off Hughes’ night. And everyone else’s as the Yankees posted a rain-shortened, 6-0 victory.

Derek Jeter, star of the current HBO documentary about his quest for 3,000 hits, got the ball rolling in the first inning for the Yankees with a leadoff single for career hit No. 3,021 that pushed him past Rafael Palmeiro and into 24th place on the all-time list. Jeter, who scored on a two-out double by Robinson Cano, got another hit in the third, a double, for No. 3,022, which left him one hit behind No. 23, Hall of Famer Lou Brock.

Mark Teixeira moved to the top of another career list when his two home runs that brought his season total to 31, one behind American League leader Juan Bautista of the Blue Jays. Tex won a 10-pitch duel with White Sox starter John Danks in the third inning and homered from the right side of the plate.

Batting left-handed against White Sox reliever Jason Frasor in the seventh, Teixeira turned around a 94-mph fastball for another home run. It marked the 12th time Tex has homered from each side of the plate in the same game, which established a major-league record. Teixeira had previously been tied for the mark with Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and Chili Davis.

Teixeira reached the 30-homer plateau for his seventh consecutive season and his third with the Yankees. He is only the fourth player to surpass 30 in each of his first three seasons with the Yankees, joining Babe Ruth, Roger Maris and Alex Rodriguez.

The long ball was a major part of the Yanks’ offense as Russell Martin cracked his 11th home run of the season and his first in 22 games and 82 at-bats since June 29.

While it is a bit early to talk about the year 2012, the Yankees have agreed to play exhibition games at 1:10 p.m. April 1 and at 7:10 p.m. April 2 next year at the Marlins’ new ballpark in Miami. The Yankees are old hands at this. As far back as 1965, they opened the old Houston Astrodome with an exhibition game.

About 25,000 tickets will be available for the April 1 game and 30,000 for the April 2 game. The Marlins’ 2012 season-ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to the two exhibition games. A limited number of tickets will go on sale to the general public next spring. The ballpark, located near downtown Miami, is around three-quarters complete, according to the Marlins.

Tex and Grandy making like Rog and Mick

Shades of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, the Yankees have two players battling each other for the home run title. With his 31st career multi-home run game, Mark Teixeira moved into a three-way tie with teammate Curtis Granderson and Blue Jays right fielder Juan Bautista for first place in the American League homer race.

Teixeira connected from both sides of the plate Wednesday night in the Yankees’ 12-4 victory over the Rangers. It marked the 11th time he has done that, tying Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and Chili Davis for the most in major-league history. Since the other two are retired, Teixeira has a good chance to take sole control of this record at some point.

That Teixeira is a contender for the home run title is no surprise. He tied the Rays’ Carlos Pena for the league lead in his first year with the Yankees in 2009 with 39 and his as many as 43 one year, in 2005 for the Rangers. Bautista, of course, led the AL a year ago with 54 homers, so he is no stranger to this activity.

But Granderson? Sure, he has shown muscle at the plate in the past. He had a career-high 30 homers in his last year with the Tigers in 2009 and despite a slow start with the Yankees a year ago managed to swat 24. That Granderson is already at 21 a month before the All-Star break is simply amazing.

Tex and Grandy are on a 52-homer pace. The Yankees haven’t had a player hit more than 50 homers in one year since that magical season 50 years ago when Maris slugged 61 and Mantle 54. The 1961 Yankees hit 240 home runs, which stood as the major-league record for 35 years.

With five more jacks, the 2011 Yankees have 103 in 66 games. That’s a pace of 252, which would top the club record of 244 in 2009, the first season of the new Yankee Stadium.

All four Yankees infielders homered in this one, an oddity in itself and especially because two of those infielders were not Alex Rodriguez, who was the designated hitter, or Derek Jeter, who is on the disabled list. Shortstop Eduardo Nunez and third baseman Ramiro Pena joined Teixeira and second baseman Robinson Cano in the home run derby.

The Yankees have been particularly powerful against the Rangers this year with 22 home runs, including six by Granderson and four by Teixeira, in eight games. Granderson did not go deep Wednesday night, but he made an outstanding defensive play in the sixth inning by throwing out Yorvit Torrealba at the plate from center field.

It was a close game at that point, the Yankees holding a 6-4 lead. Had Torrealba been safe, it would have been a one-run game with the potential tying run on third base and Josh Hamilton up. That can get lost when the score turns into 12-4, which happens when a lot of batted balls go over the fence.