Mark Teixeira has had a tough time hitting left-handed. Teams are pulling the old Ted Williams shift on him, stationing everyone on the right side and daring him to keep pulling the ball. Which he has been, to less-than-great results of late.
Last August, the New York Times ran an article on this, and reported this as the official position of Yankees’ hitting coach Kevin Long and manager Joe Girardi with respect to Teixeira trying to thwart the shift by hitting to the left side and such:
“‘The main thing is he can’t get hung up on it,’ Long said of the shift, ‘because we’re seeing it more and more …’ Long and Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said they did not want to see Teixeira try to change who he is as a hitter.”
And here’s Long quoted in Andrew Marchand’s piece over at ESPN New York today:
Kevin Long said he has told Teixeira, “Hey, take a single sometimes. . .” His power is to the pull side, which is why he’s reluctant to go the other way. I think he needs to learn to hit the ball up the middle or the other way, because if you consistently hit into the shift, there just ain’t no holes. It’s something he’s got to work on … There’s got to be a little give-and-take. He’s going to have to change his routines a little.”
I suppose everyone is entitled to change their mind. For what it’s worth, though, Teixeira doesn’t seem to be changing his. In both articles he says he’s not gonna become no slap hitter. So this spring should be fun in Tampa.