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Teixeira's injury further complicates Yanks' plans

Bombers' GM, also injured, focusing on internal candidates
03/06/2013 8:00 PM ET
By Jack Curry

The Yankees will be without Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson on Opening Day.(AP)
TAMPA, Fla. -- The words spilled out of Joe Girardi's mouth, quickly and disgustedly. Mark Teixeira will miss 8-10 weeks with a strained tendon in his right wrist, the Yankees' manager said.

Those were the discouraging words that Girardi never wanted to utter on Wednesday, but they were words that fit the theme of this excruciating Spring Training.

So Teixeira will join Curtis Granderson as another linchpin player the Yankees won't have for at least the first month of the season. Granderson strained his right forearm on Feb. 24 and is likely to miss 10 weeks. The Yankees have been evaluating Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, Melky Mesa and Zoilo Almonte to determine how they will replace Granderson in the outfield; now, they must figure out how to replace Teixeira at first base, too.

"It's not what you want, but it's what you've got to deal with," Girardi said. "It's life."

Life has become more complicated for the Yankees because of these injuries. Without Teixeira and Granderson to begin the season, the Yanks will be without eight of their top 10 home run hitters from 2012.

The Yankees knew they would be without five players that signed elsewhere, and have admitted their offense won't have the same muscle. But they never anticipated they would be without Granderson and Teixeira, too.

"It's a tough loss," said general manager Brian Cashman, "like all these are."

When Cashman discussed Teixeira's injury, the general manager was sitting in a wheelchair in the Yankee clubhouse because of his own leg injury. Cashman broke his right fibula and dislocated his ankle after he landed awkwardly during a skydiving endeavor for the Wounded Warrior Project. It was a painfully appropriate scene for the Yankees: the injured GM talking about another injured player.

While Cashman focused on how the Yankees could address their issues internally and said "it's not the time of year to make a move," he will surely investigate possible replacements from outside the organization. Carlos Lee and Aubrey Huff are free-agent first basemen, but neither is terribly attractive.

Even if it will be difficult and costly to pry away a solid position player, Cashman probably began making calls soon after he received the news about Teixeira. Without Granderson (43 homers in 2012) and Teixeira (24 homers), the Yankees, who were second in the Major Leagues in runs last season, are staring at a much more toothless lineup in 2013.

If the Yankees don't make a deal, their best option could be to move Kevin Youkilis from third base to first and insert Eduardo Nunez at third. Youkilis won a Gold Glove at first for the Red Sox in 2007, so his versatility gives the Yankees some flexibility. Girardi told Youkilis to begin taking grounders at first.

If the Yankees don't shift Youkilis across the diamond, Dan Johnson is a candidate to start at first. He played in 14 games with the White Sox in 2012.

Travis Hafner won't be asked to play first. The Yankees lack the depth that they had last season, which is already impacting them.

Before the spring began, the Yanks understood that Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia would have to prove they had recovered from surgeries. Since the spring began, Granderson and Teixeira have been lost for extended periods, Phil Hughes has been sidelined by a back injury and Boone Logan and David Robertson have also been slowed by achy arms.

Any major injury is challenging to a team, but the Teixeira news definitely stung the Yankees. Girardi said the team must "find a way" to compete without two of its best players. That will be easier for the Yankees if they find a way to add another reliable player.

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