Mark Teixeira rangers

Rangers acquired Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus by trading Mark Teixeira in 2007

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Surprisingly little has been made of Mark Teixeira facing his old team in the ALCS, perhaps because he had stints with the Braves and Angels in between going from the Rangers to the Yankees.

Selected by Texas with the fifth overall pick in the 2001 draft, Teixeira hit .283/.368/.533 with 153 homers and 499 RBIs in 693 games for the Rangers. In the middle of his fifth season in Texas he reportedly turned down an eight-year, $140 million extension offer, at which point the Rangers traded Teixeira to the Braves on July 31, 2007 for a five-prospect package that included Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, and Beau Jones.

At the time Saltalamacchia was viewed as the centerpiece of the Rangers’ haul, while Feliz and Andrus were high-upside teenagers at Single-A. Four years later Feliz is one of the best closers in baseball and may win the Rookie of the Year award, Andrus is an elite defensive shortstop and the Rangers’ leadoff man … and Saltalamacchia is trying to resurrect his injury wrecked career with the Red Sox.

Teixeira played well for the Braves, hitting .295/.395/.548 with 37 homers and 134 RBIs in 157 games spread over 1.5 seasons before they traded him to the Angels in July of 2008 for Casey Kotchman and Steve Marek. He played 54 games for the Angels, batting .358/.449/.632 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs, and then hit the open market as a free agent and signed a $180 million deal with the Yankees.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.