Yanks' AL West foe gets tougher

Yanks' AL West foe gets tougher

NEW YORK -- The Yankees already knew they would have their hands full with the Angels visiting Yankee Stadium for a four-game series beginning Thursday.

But the Halos will be even tougher after trading for the Braves' Mark Teixeira on Tuesday in exchange for Casey Kotchman and Minor League pitcher Stephen Marek.

"He's a good player," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "They traded a good player and got a good player."

The Halos have the Major League's best record (66-40) but had room to improve their offense. Their runs scored (80) rank ninth in the American League, and they're 11th in on-base percentage (.322) and eighth in batting average (.261).

The switch-hitting Teixeira has hit .283 with 20 homers this year, and he's experienced success in the AL before. He started his career in Texas, putting up huge numbers in five seasons there before being traded to Atlanta midway through 2007, his sixth year with the Rangers. His biggest year in Texas was 2005, when he belted 44 home runs and had 144 RBIs.

Thursday will be the teams' first meeting this season. They're scheduled to play six games after this weekend, including a three-game series in September in Anaheim.

That will likely be a crucial one for the two playoff contenders, perhaps more so for New York because the Angels are steadily building a cushion in the AL West.

Willie Bans is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.