Just when you think things couldn't get worse for the New York Yankees, they have. First baseman Mark Teixeira will undergo season-ending surgery for a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist. Teixeira is expected to be fully healed in six months, giving him plenty of time to be ready for Spring Training.
The injury is similar to the one suffered by Jose Bautista (although on his left wrist) last season. Bautista had his surgery at the beginning of September, and the wrist hasn't given him any problems this season. The Toronto slugger has played in 70 of the Blue Jays' 77 games, and has an .821 OPS with 16 homers. Bautista and Teixeira are only six months apart in age.
Teixiera has played in just 15 games for the Yankees this year after first injuring the wrist in March during batting practice for the World Baseball Classic with Team USA in Arizona. In that 15 game sample, he looked like a shell of himself, hitting just .151 and striking out in over 30% of his at bats.
The Yankees are now faced with another difficult decision with Teixeira out for the year. Lyle Overbay has been doing most of the heavy lifting for the team at first base this year, and hasn't been too great, hitting .239/.282/.439 in 58 games. His numbers in June have plummeted to a ghastly .212/.255/.365 as he's transitioned into an every day role against both lefties and righties.
I hate to say it, but this team looks like it needs Alex Rodriguez back more than ever. Playing Rodriguez at first base should put less strain on his hip than at third, but if he can't handle the position defensively, the team might try to roll the dice and give the brittle Travis Hafner some time in the field while DHing A-Rod.
The Yankees are still seven games above .500 and tied with the Orioles for second in the AL East, 3.5 games back behind the Red Sox. New York has a relatively easy remaining schedule until the All-Star Break, with seven games against the hapless Twins and four against the Royals intermingled with six against the always dangerous Orioles, but the second half begins with ten straight games against the Red Sox, Rangers, and Rays. After an eight game road trip, the Yankees then play 23 straight games against the Tigers, Angels, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays, and Orioles, with just two off days during that stretch. After a series with the White Sox, the Yankees then get 20 straight against the Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays, Giants, and Rays with two more off days during that strech.
It's going to be tough for the Yankees to keep on pushing forward in the second half of the year, even with the expected returns of Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Curtis Granderson. If they start falling apart going into the Break, their season could be over before the trade deadline.