It's those long trips around the bases Mark Teixeira yearned for while he spent the first 53 games on the disabled list. It's that moment when the ball is planted firmly beyond the outfield wall, like his three-run shot in Monday's 4-3 win against the Cleveland Indians, that makes a ball player feel alive.
"When you play, you don't miss making outs. You don't miss being the goat. You don't miss losing four, five games in a row. But you miss hitting that big home run," Teixeira said. "You miss the energy in the dugout when you get back and the energy in the clubhouse when you get back."
Teixeira hit his second homer in as many nights to help the Yankees to their second straight win on Tuesday night. Teixeira has seven RBIs in the past two games and has homered in consecutive games for the first time since July 25-26, 2011 against Seattle.
"He's an RBI machine," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "That's what he is."
In his first three games back after returning from a wrist injury, suffered during the World Baseball Classic, Teixeira went 1-for-9 in last weekend's series against Boston. He struck out seven times and looked a little rusty after having played just two minor league games before returning.
Monday, he hit a grand slam in a 7-4 win, and he followed with a 2-for-3 night on Tuesday. He singled to left in the first before hitting a three-run homer
to left with one out in the third to give the Yankees a 4-0 edge against Cleveland lefty Scott Kazmir.
"Two good nights. The wins are the most important thing, like I always say," Teixeira said. "Three-run homer early in the game is great for your starting pitcher and for your team."
The first baseman said his power display the last two nights has been a positive indication about the health of his wrist. He said there's always the thought about feeling something in his wrist during an at-bat in the first few games back. By not having any pain during his swings, he said it allows him to commit to his swing.
Teixeira also received reassurance by showing power from both sides, as the switch-hitter connected on a right-handed homer on Tuesday; Monday's grand slam was hit left-handed.
Teixeira's other hit on Tuesday came right-handed, while his walk in the seventh came from the left side.
"It's great to see him productive [and] productive from both sides," Girardi said. "He hit the ball hard again right-handed and had a great walk left-handed. It's really good to see."
Before Tuesday's game, Yankees GM Brian Cashman talked about his love for home runs and how some fans complained last year about the Yankees' reliance on the long ball. After hitting his second of the year on Tuesday night, Teixeira seemed to be on the same wavelength as his GM.
"Anyone that says you hit too many home runs, there is no such thing as hitting too many home runs," Teixeira said. "You want to have guys on base, it's an important thing. A grand slam and a three-run homer, those are huge for a team."