Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer in the third inning of Friday's win over the A's, but it was a less-auspicious play that told Joe Girardi his first baseman might finally be recovering from the lingering bronchial ailment that has plagued his since the first week of the season.
That was in the fifth inning when, after Robinson Cano had led off with a home run, Teixeira tried to stretch a double into a triple and committed the cardinal sin of making the first out of an inning at third base. But instead of being annoyed, the manager was encouraged.
"I was mostly concerned if he was gonna cough after that, and I didn’t see it,'' Girardi said. In fact, I didn’t see him cough much at all today. So that's good.''
Teixeira's two hits tonight didn't do much to raise his average, which is languishing at .231, but it did provide a sign that maybe he is on the verge of breaking out of his season-long slump, too.
"I'm feeling a little better,'' he said. "Just trying to grind through it, trying to be a little more aggressive at the plate, swinging hard, not worrying about trying to guide the all anywhere, letting it go, got a good one up in the zone tonight and that home run was big for us, big for me.''
As for his base-running gaffe, Teixeira had a very plausible explanation: "I always think I'm faster than I am.''
And he had an even better one for why home runs are the best kind of hit: "Home runs don't get caught.''
Now, that's nothing to sneeze at. Or cough over.