Neck problem knocks Yankees 1B Teixeira out of lineup again


NEW YORK >> Just as one aging slugger gets ready to return to the New York Yankees, they're concerned about the health of another.

Slumping Mark Teixeira was out of the starting lineup Wednesday night against Toronto because his neck was bothering him again. Dustin Ackley started at first base in Teixeira's place as the Yankees tried to extend their winning streak to seven games.

In other news, manager Joe Girardi said "there's a pretty good chance" designated hitter Alex Rodriguez will rejoin the lineup Thursday.

The 40-year-old Rodriguez, on the disabled list since May 4 with a strained right hamstring, played his second rehab game for Double-A Trenton on Wednesday night and hit a two-run homer to center field. He had two hits Tuesday and "came through very well," Girardi said.

Teixeira's neck, however, is an issue again. Girardi said he's concerned about the 36-year-old switch-hitter, who missed two games May 10-11 because of a neck problem and was given shots in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort.

"I think it went away," Girardi said. "But for whatever reason, it crept back in there today."

Girardi said the three-time All-Star told the team Wednesday his neck "kind of locked up," and he was scheduled to see a doctor in the evening. How much time Teixeira misses will depend on how he responds to treatment, Girardi said.

In the final season of a $180 million, eight-year contract, Teixeira is batting .195 with three homers, four doubles and 12 RBIs. He still provides quality defense at first base.

"His (pregame) work has been good, so it's just getting that to translate over to the field," Girardi said.

Girardi said he thinks it's possible Teixeira's neck problems have contributed to his struggles at the plate.

"I think it has some effect. I mean, if you can't move your neck the way you need to, it's kind of hard as a hitter," the manager said. "It was feeling better, so it wasn't something that I expected today or got a heads-up last night. It just kind of reared its ugly head again, so I think it can have an effect."

Teixeira has three homers in nine at-bats against Marco Estrada, who started for the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

In addition to Ackley, backup catcher Austin Romine could be a short-term candidate to fill in at first base because he's played about 25 games there in the minors, Girardi said.

If Teixeira is sidelined for an extended period, the Yankees could consider bringing up veteran Nick Swisher from Triple-A, where he's been playing mostly first base.

NOTES: Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, one of the team's top prospects, broke his right thumb Tuesday night at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will be placed on the minor league disabled list. X-rays revealed a non-displaced fracture and he will be re-evaluated with repeat X-rays in two weeks, the team said. The 23-year-old Sanchez made his major league debut in 2015 and has played one game for the Yankees this year, going 0 for 4.


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