Report: Yankees pursuing Derrek Lee to replace Mark Teixeira at first base
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the YES Network's Jack Curry, "I made a call. I liked him as a player." He referred to Lee as a Yankee-type due to his approach and makeup, but when asked about the chance of signing him, Cashman replied that Lee "isn't here now."
Lee, 37, last played in 2011 for the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates, batting .267 with 19 home runs in 113 games despite missing time after suffering a broken bone in his left wrist when hit by a pitch. Lee won the National League batting title in 2005 after hitting .335 with the Chicago Cubs. Over a 15-year career, Lee has 331 homers and was on the Florida Marlins team that defeated the Yankees in the 2003 World Series.
Teixeira will miss at least two months with a strained a tendon in his right wrist suffered while hitting off a batting tee shortly after reporting to Team USA to play in the World Baseball Classic. Although Teixeira was told by doctors he probably won't need surgery, Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista strained the same tendon last year, eventually had to go under the knife and missed the remainder of the regular season.
Currently, the Yankees are evaluating internal options at first base. Juan Rivera started at the position on Sunday and went 3-for-4 to raise his Spring Training batting average to .346. Rivera, though, is also a candidate to see time in the outfield with Curtis Granderson (broken forearm) sidelined until May. The Yankees could also temporarily move Kevin Youkilis from third base to first, and are taking a long look at outfield prospect Ronnier Mustelier at the hot corner.
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