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Oct. 15 Mark Teixeira off day interview

Q.  Listen, when you guys struggled as much as you have offensively this postseason, during the year good hitters will find themselves out because it is a long season, when you don't have as much time.  What do you guys say to each other other than the normal encouragement?  Is there anything else more involved with the interaction between hitters trying to talk about what guys are doing to you, what you should be doing, things like that?

    MARK TEIXEIRA:  Yeah, I think there's two things.  The first is one pitch at a time.  We can't score seven runs, eight runs in one at bat.

    We do want to score a lot of runs.  If you try to look at the big picture and scoring a bunch of runs in a game, you might lose focus on that one pitch each at bat.  So that's the first thing, is guys will concentrate on each pitch.

    And then also it depends on what the pitcher is doing now.  Say the guy is throwing a lot of sinker balls, you have to get the ball up, guys will tell each other:  Hey, make this guy get the ball up.  Or, Hey, he is not throwing his cutter for a strike, lay off the pitch inside, whatever it may be.  It is the one pitch at a time, but also a little bit of X's and O's.

    Q.  We can see you are frustrated by the results.  How do you keep that from not lingering?
    
    MARK TEIXEIRA:  Score early tomorrow.  That's really what it is.  It is momentum.  When things are going bad, they can really go bad, but when they are going good, we are capable of putting up a lot of runs, and that's what we are hoping for tomorrow.

    Q.  You were somebody that missed pretty much most of the last month of the season, and yet with the calf problem, and yet you come back and have done the best of this crew coming into the playoffs essentially.  Is there anything to that?  Or how can you explain missing all that time and yet getting up to speed so quickly?  Does that just kind of show how there can be so little explanation of what is going on right now?

    MARK TEIXEIRA:  You are exactly right.  There is no explanation sometimes in baseball.  When I came off, I was never on the DL, but when I came back from the five weeks off I was terrible for three games.  I had no timing.  Everything I swung at I was either early or late on.  And we had three days off.  In those three days I just tried to really bear down on the basics, get my swing down as well as I could.

    When I went into the playoffs, I didn't try to do too much, just try to swing at strikes.  That's what I did.  I walked a lot this postseason because I am not expanding the zone.  And I say that's the only explanation, I am just trying to swing at good pitches.

    Q.  Mark, one other part of that is when guys have struggled, I know people say it's a short series and you can only think too far ahead, but I think the reverse would be true.  You realize you don't have time to pull out of a slump and that can exacerbate it or make it worse.  Do you think it can be part of it as well mentally?

    MARK TEIXEIRA:  Yeah, that's human nature.  Any time you have 162 games, to win 95 to 100, one game you can shake it off and you can go get it the next day.  And the team's not going to be too high or too low during the regular season.  But in the postseason you have five or seven games, everything is magnified.  When you go down 0 2, a two game losing streak during the regular season, no one even talks about.  But two games in a row in a seven game series is a big deal, so we have a big hole to dig ourselves out of.

    Q.  You guys faced Verlander three times this year.  You won two of those games.  You can't rely on that carrying into tomorrow, but does it give you at least some confidence, even with the struggles right now, that as good as he is you have beaten him this year and obviously you have that experience to fall back on?

    MARK TEIXEIRA:  It does.  And it doesn't matter who you're facing, as a hitter you want to face familiar pitchers.  Even if he happens to be the best pitcher on the planet now and maybe the best pitcher in the last 10, 15 years.  We have played Justin a lot.  We won a few games, we lost a few games.

    And the biggest thing is familiarity.  We know what he will do to us.  He will throw it 100 miles an hour, fix in a good curveball and a good changeup.  And it sounds like a tough job, but we have risen to the occasion before and are hoping to do it again.

    Q.  A little off topic, but Tony Pena interviewed with the Red Sox today for the managerial job.  I am wondering, based on your time with Tony, why you think he would make a good manager.

    MARK TEIXEIRA:  Tony is a good baseball guy, one of the guys that played in the game for almost 20 years.  As soon as he got out of the game as a player, he went into it as a coach.  He knows baseball from both sides, being a catcher, he is the ultimate field general.  He has a lot of energy.  He has thrown so much batting practice here, I think his arm has slowed down a little bit.  I don't know how much BP he will be throwing if he is the manager.  But other than that, you couldn't ask for a better baseball man.

    Q.  His personality, do you think it will be a good fit as a manager?
    
    MARK TEIXEIRA:  I haven't spent any time in Boston on the home side, so I am not sure what personality they are looking for.  But I know we love Tony here.  I have been here for four years and he's always having fun, always joking around.  He'll get tough if he needs to.  If he needs to get on a catcher for not blocking a ball or being slow behind the plate, he'll get on you.  But he is one of those guys that really meshes well with our clubhouse.

    Q.  Do you guys like the fact that so many people have really counted you guys out of this series?  Does that mean anything?

    MARK TEIXEIRA:  I'd like it better if we were up 2 0 and they were still counting us out.  I don't know, sometimes being the underdog is fun.  And definitely going into Detroit for three games down 0 2, we are the underdog right now.  We played that role before.  Sometimes we have won, sometimes we have lost.  And we'll just see how it plays out.

    But at the end of the day you don't go out in the field saying, well, I am an underdog so I will shock the world.  I don't think it would be shocking if the Yankees came back and won this series.  People wouldn't bet on it probably, they wouldn't expect it, but at the same time we're going to go out there and try to surprise people.

    Q.  Where are you physically?  Physically speaking, how do you feel this time of year?
    
    MARK TEIXEIRA:  You know, I actually    my overall energy is pretty good because I had those five weeks basically off.  You never want to take time off, but if there is a silver lining with being injured during the season, you might have a little extra energy during the end of the year and the postseason.

    My calf is going to be tight for probably the next couple of months because there is so much scar tissue in there.  I pulled it twice.  And when you sprain a muscle twice, so much scar tissue gets built up that it is just going to be tight for awhile.

    Other than that, I played with tight muscles my entire career, and you battle through it.  But, you know, my body feels pretty good from top to bottom.

    Q.  And how comforting is that considering    I mean, aside from the calf issue, otherwise you seem okay.  How much of a relief is that for you?

    MARK TEIXEIRA:  It is a relief.  Unfortunately this year I was really only healthy for two months.  The first two months of the year we were pretty much trying to figure out why I was coughing so much and was so sick.  It was not a fun two months.  But I had a nice little run in the middle of the season, but then I hurt my wrist at the end of July.  And after a couple of months of dealing with the wrist, I blew out my calf.
 
So it's been a very difficult season when it comes to health for me.  But being as healthy as I can be during the playoffs, I just try to contribute any way I can, whether it is in the field or in the batter's box.
    
 

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