- Andrew Marchand, ESPNNewYork.com
- 0 Shares
TAMPA, Fla. -- No Robinson Cano, no problem.
Even without Cano, according to Teixeira, the Yankees are a better team than the injury-ravaged 2013 club that had Lyle Overbay at first base and Ben Francisco as the designated hitter on Opening Day.
"We're back to being the Yankees again," said Teixeira, who missed most of last season when he had surgery to repair a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist. "Last year, we weren't the Yankees.
"We had so many injuries and we had so many guys that should have been in there to be lots of anchors [in the lineup.] That's back. There is not one guy that has to carry this team."
Teixeira said he "absolutely expects" to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs. His goal is to play in 150 games instead of the 15 in 2013.
"I know when I'm out there and healthy, my team is a better team and that is no different this year," said Teixeira, who turns 34 in April.
Teixeira said he understood Cano's decision to leave the Yankees for the Seattle Mariners, saying the team would "definitely miss Robbie," but lauded general manager Brian Cashman.
"We had a great offseason," Teixeira said. "It was fun to watch. I was texting Cash every two weeks, telling him congrats on another great signing, great offseason. I basically told him, 'You did your job. Now, it is time for us to do ours.' No excuses this year, we have a team that can compete for a world championship."
Last week, like nearly everyone in the Yankees' organization, Teixeira was stunned by Derek Jeter's announcement that he would retire following 2014.
"I was shocked, to be honest with you," Teixeira said. "I thought that Derek had a couple of years left in him. I knew how excited he would be about this season, just the same way I am when you only play 15 or 17 games.
"You just get really excited about playing the next year. I could have seen Derek playing until he is 44, 45. I'm excited that he gets to go out on his own terms and he gets to enjoy that last season and we are going to enjoy it with them."
Teixeira, who has three seasons remaining on his eight year, $180 million contract, said he plans on playing five more years.
Teixeira said he will ease into spring training, but he feels if he takes 50-plus at-bats he should be ready for the April 1 opener in Houston. He said he began swinging on Jan. 1, building up his wrist strength each day. He thinks he won't know fully how improved the wrist is until he faces his first real fastball in an exhibition game.
4hAdam Lewis, Special to ESPN.com