Notes: Tex knocks off the rust

March, 8, 2014
Mar 8
TeixeiraAP Photo/Alex BrandonThe Yankees are counting on a healthy return for Mark Teixeira.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- When you talk about the most important New York Yankees of 2014, Mark Teixeira might not be first, but he is high on the list.

When you consider the Yankees have no true backup for him, Teixeira's importance swells. On Saturday, he doubled in his second start of the spring. Overall, Teixeira went 1-for-2 with a walk.

"I really am knocking the rust off," Teixeira said.

Teixeira played just 15 games last season because of wrist surgery. He said he will next play Tuesday in Viera against the Washington Nationals.

GAME CHANGES: Ivan Nova left with a poor line -- four innings, three runs (all earned) on eight hits with five strikeouts and no walks -- but he showed the ability to adjust.

When you look at how Nova has grown -- and will continue to grow -- as a starter, it is his ability to make in-game changes. Nova got hit hard in the first -- he gave up half of his hits and two of his runs in the inning -- but then made a little change so he wasn't leaving his pitches up. It is a small thing now, but if he can continue to do that during the regular season, it'll make a difference in winning games and saving the bullpen.

KELLY'S A HERO: Starting third baseman Kelly Johnson hit a two-run homer. Johnson, who is the backup to everything, will give first base a try Sunday at Steinbrenner Field.

"It would be a lot weirder if I was younger, a little newer in the game," Johnson said. "I've been around just enough to feel a little more comfortable."

Johnson has played first base just three times in the majors.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »



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Jacoby Ellsbury
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HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146