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Mark Teixeira: Back 'killing me'

7/21/2014

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, the club's leading home run hitter and run producer, is suffering from what the team described as a "lower lat strain" that will keep him out of the lineup for a minimum of three to four days.

Manager Joe Girardi said on Monday the injury was "not a DL situation at this time." Teixeira, sounding less optimistic -- at one point, he described the injury as "killing me" -- said his back had been bothering him for about a month and became too painful for him to play through over the weekend. He was to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection from team doctor Christopher Ahmad on Monday evening.

"Throwing, hitting -- anything with any type of rotation, it's been pretty painful," Teixeira said. "The spasms, unfortunately, have gone from my neck to my lower back, up and down the whole time. We just kind of put the fires out, and finally when the pain ratcheted up, it was one spot."

Teixeira had an MRI on Sunday that revealed a Grade 1 strain of the latissimus dorsi muscle on the left side of his back. Teixeira said he began experiencing generalized spasms in his back when the Yankees were in Oakland in mid-June, but rather than benefiting from the four days off for the All-Star break, Teixeira said the pain worsened and localized during this past weekend's series against the Cincinnati Reds, in which he went hitless in 12 at-bats.

"That's kind of what happens when you shut down for a little while," he said. "The blood's not flowing, you don't have that adrenaline pumping through your body and it becomes worse. I think that's what we saw this weekend."

After a remarkable run of durability in which he played all 162 games twice in his first four MLB seasons and at least 156 in each of his first three seasons with the Yankees, the 34-year-old Teixeira has been plagued by injuries in recent years, and last season missed all but 15 games with a wrist tendon injury that required surgery. He has already spent 15 days on the DL this season with a hamstring strain.

"It's tough. I thought the year off last year would kind of give me a fountain of youth, and it's just made me rusty," Teixeira said. "That's the way it feels. It's been something. Every game, it's something. I'm still happy with the way I've played when I'm healthy; I just need to get healthy again."

Teixeira leads the offensively challenged Yankees with 17 home runs and 48 RBIs and has batted cleanup in 58 of the 76 games he has played. He said the Yankees would give the PRP injection "three or four days" to take effect, after which his condition would be re-evaluated.

"We're really hoping it won't be [a DL situation]," Girardi said. "I think if we were concerned, really concerned, we'd put him on the DL right away. We're hoping that after three or four days he feels OK and we'll get him back in there."