Mired in HR drought, Tex refining lefty swing

Mired in HR drought, Tex refining lefty swing

PHOENIX -- As he tries to snap the longest home run drought of his career, Mark Teixeira said that he is working on his left-handed stroke, hoping that will allow him to get back to hitting the ball with authority.

Teixeira went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in the Yankees' 4-2 victory over the D-backs on Wednesday at Chase Field. He has now gone a career-high 108 at-bats without a home run, last clearing an outfield fence on April 13 at Toronto.

"I'm just not driving the ball left-handed. I'm off just enough," Teixeira said. "All it takes is to be off a little bit. Too many ground balls. That's something I'm just trying to work on."

The Yankees saw a healthy diet of left-handed pitching early in the season, which helped Teixeira get his right-handed swing going; he's slashing .306/.404/.388 from that side. He is hitting just .148 (12-for-81) as a lefty this year, which historically has been his more productive side.

"That's surprising. To me, that tells me he's due, and he's due to hit a bunch," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "His track record says he's probably going to hit a bunch, and if they come in bunches, it will be really nice for us."

Teixeira said that everything feels fine in the batting cage and when taking batting practice, which has made it frustrating that the results have not followed into game action. In the ninth inning Wednesday, the D-backs intentionally walked Brian McCann to load the bases for Teixeira. A wild pitch brought home New York's fourth run before Teixeira struck out.

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"You face some tough pitchers and you expand the zone a little bit," said Teixeira, who drove a ball to the warning track in his first at-bat but was robbed on a nice catch by D-backs right fielder Brandon Drury. "I'm not taking my walks like I was earlier. I need to swing at better pitches. Hopefully the home runs will come and I'll draw my walks when I need to. Then hopefully get on a roll."

Because of his power drought, Teixeira said that he was not surprised that managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner mentioned him as one of the players responsible for the Yankees' sluggish opening to the season.

"I've been around long enough to know that you're going to get singled out when you're not producing, especially the type of career that I've had," Teixeira said. "I've always been someone that's been able to carry teams during tough streaks. We've been in a tough stretch the whole season. I'm the kind of player that can carry a team for a while. I just haven't done it yet."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.