Teixeira joins 400-homer club

Yankees slugger is 5th switch-hitter to reach milestone

Teixeira joins 400-homer club

SAN DIEGO -- Mark Teixeira became the fifth switch-hitter in history to reach the 400-home run milestone on Sunday, slugging his 400th and 401st during the Yankees' 6-3 win over the Padres at Petco Park.

Teixeira's 400th was a high, arcing drive to right field off Padres reliever Carlos Villanueva, and he added a two-run shot in the ninth off Kevin Quackenbush.

"It's very special," Teixeira said. "I think being a part of the switch-hitters to do it is a very nice honor. I'm just very blessed to be able to play this long and hit 400 home runs."

Mickey Mantle (536), Eddie Murray (504), Chipper Jones (468) and teammate Carlos Beltran (412) are the previous switch-hitters to reach 400 home runs. Beltran accomplished the feat on May 15 against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium.

"That's amazing. That's a lot of home runs, a lot of production over the years," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think he's hit four since he's come back [from the disabled list] already. We've talked about how important he is to our lineup and he was really important today."

Must C: Teixeira reaches 400 HRs

Teixeira said he senses a connection to each of the four previous switch-hitters to reach the 400-homer mark.

"Mickey Mantle played for the Yankees, and Eddie Murray is the reason that I'm a switch-hitter. I watched him growing up in Baltimore," Teixeira said. "I got to play with Chipper Jones for a year in Atlanta, which was an unbelievable experience.

"And now I'm playing here with 'Los, and we do it in the same year. So it's really cool. I'll always be able to take that with me."

Teixeira on homers, Green

The back-to-back homers vs. the Padres' bullpen came after Teixeira had struck out in his first three at-bats against starter Andrew Cashner.

"Certain guys you just don't see the ball well off of, and he had my number," Teixeira said. "He could have told me what was coming and I wasn't going to have hit it today. So I'm glad he got out of the game and they threw somebody else."

The 400th homer had a 48-degree launch angle, the highest drive recorded by Statcast™ this season, and Teixeira said he wasn't sure if it was heading out. He knew the second homer was gone, punctuating the drive with an uncharacteristic bat flip.

Teixeira's two-run homer

"I got it really good," Teixeira said. "I've been getting offspeed pitches all game, all game. I finally got two hanging curveballs in a row and I hit them both out. So I'm just happy."

The home run balls were both thrown back by fans in right field and were delivered to Teixeira's locker. He said that he planned to give them to his father, John, who happened to be at Petco Park for Sunday's game and embraced his son in the visiting clubhouse.

According to the YES Network, Teixeira is the ninth player to hit his 400th home run as a Yankee, joining Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano and Beltran.

Both of Teixeira's homers came from the left side of the plate, as have 292 others during the course of his 14-year career with the Yankees, Rangers, Braves and Angels. He is the 55th member of the 400 home run club, and has hit four homers in 26 at-bats since coming off the disabled list.

"My left-handed swing is the best it's felt all season, and hopefully I'll keep that going," Teixeira said. "I still have some work to do right-handed, but physically I feel pretty good and hopefully I'll just put all the injuries behind me and stay healthy and productive the rest of the season."

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.