Teixeira upbeat after Derby debut

Teixeira upbeat after Derby debut

DETROIT -- Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira, aka Captain America, went down swinging.

And swinging hard.

Teixeira, who leads the American League in home runs with 25, hit two home runs in the first round of the Century 21 Home Run Derby and was soon eliminated. He was representing the United States.

Only Pirates outfielder Jason Bay, who is from Canada, hit fewer home runs than Teixeira. Bay ended up hitting none.

"It's been a lot of fun watching the Derby," Teixeira said. "I just didn't want to get shut out."

Teixeira, hitting left-handed, did not hit his first home run until his fifth swing in the contest. He hit back-to-back home runs but did not hit another over the fence on his next six swings. Earlier in the first round, Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu, who was representing Venezuela, stole the show by hitting a record 24 home runs in one round. Abreau eventually won the Home Run Derby by edging Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez from Puerto Rico in the final.

Teixeira didn't win, but he still went away smiling. He is not only participating in his first All-Star Game on Tuesday, he's starting in it. Besides, hitting home runs off a pitcher who is lobbing it to the plate has its challenges.

"It's pretty tough, not real easy when you are trying to hit home runs," he said. "I was watching Bobby. That's impressive what he was doing tonight."

Teixeira does not like to brag, but what he has been doing could be just as impressive. The third baseman-turned-first baseman has played Gold Glove-caliber defense. He has committed only two errors in 819 total chances.

"I love first base, I really do," Teixeira said. "I'm still working at it and I'm getting better at it. I hope I stay there for a long time. ... I take a lot of pride in my defense and I know I can help the team win with it so I take it very seriously"

Player & Total
Bobby Abreu 41 56K | 350K Home Run Derby
Complete Coverage >
Ivan Rodriguez 20 56K | 350K
David Ortiz 20 56K | 350K
Carlos Lee 15 56K | 350K
Hee-Seop Choi 5 56K | 350K
Andruw Jones 5 56K | 350K
Mark Teixeira 2 56K | 350K
Jason Bay 0 56K | 350K

Last season, Teixeira won the AL Silver Slugger Award for first basemen and appears on track to do it again. The switch-hitter is batting .290 with 25 home runs and 73 RBIs. He has scored 67 runs and has 21 doubles.

He has 102 hits this season.

"Whether it's fear of failure or just wanting to get better, I can get better every single day and every single year," Teixeira said. "That's what I am trying to do."

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.