Mark Teixeira’s Fast Start Can Be Attributed To A Conversation With Kevin Long In Baltimore Last Season

Mark Teixeira has gotten out of the gate in a big way after the first five games of the 2011 season. Teixeira has gone yard four times in five games with a total of ten runs batted in and an average of .333. Tex has been notoriously known for slow starts in April over the last few seasons, but he wanted to make sure this one would be a different story. Teixeira explains how he may have been working out too hard in the off-season by lifting weights way too often, so he decided to have a conversation with Yankees hitting coach, Kevin Long, during the middle of last season in Baltimore to figure out a new regiment to change things up for the off-season. The results have been outstanding for Tex. Many veteran ballplayers may be a little hesitant or resistant about changing their routine that has worked over their entire big league career, but it looks like things have paid off for Mark Teixeira so far.

He is an instrumental component to the Yankees success both on the field as a vacuum, gold glove, first basemen and also the switch hitting power bat in the number three spot. The Yankees have played relatively well at the start of 2011 and they’re going to need every contribution they can get from Teixeira in this very tough AL East. Mark Teixeira joined WFAN in New York with Boomer and Carton to discuss his fast start to the season thus far, if he ever gets tired of answering the questions that he receives at the beginning of each season regarding his slow starts in April, how did he figure out that he needed to change his routine in order to getting going faster to start off the season, Alex Rodriguez having a bounce back year and if the Yankees pay attention to how other teams are fairing in the AL East this early in the season.

You’re off to a great start personally. Why do you think that happened this year?

“You know what, I did change up my off-season routine, which is kind of scary considering for the first eight years of my career I’ve basically stuck with the same routine in the off-season and spring training and by the end of the year you know my numbers were where they needed to be and I have great seasons, but I think it was very important for me to get off to a good start this year. We have obviously a very tough division and you know my April last year was pretty pathetic, so I just wanted to get off to a different start and hit a little bit more in the off-season, hit more in spring training, tone down my workouts a little bit. I’ve always been someone who’s worked out a lot in spring training, tone that down a little bit. I think because of that my bats a little quicker and I’m ready to go.”

Do you ever get tired of answering those questions leading up to each season regarding your early struggles at the plate?

“A little bit, but at the same time you know if that’s the…if I’m not playing well I have to answer those questions. I mean I expect a lot out of myself. Everyone expects a lot out of me and if I’m not getting the job done I gotta answer those questions.”

As a veteran how did you figure out that you needed to change your routine this offseason to get going quickly out of the gate? How was that process?

“Well it started, it’s actually kind of a cool story. We were in Baltimore and Kevin Long was right next to me in the hotel room, so after the game we were going back up to the hotel and I said ‘Kevin Long come in and sit down with me for a little while,’ and this was in the middle of the season. I was you know playing really well, feeling great. I said ‘Kevin I want to feel like this in April.’ We talked about kind of what I was doing and how I’m feeling. We talked through next off-season, next spring training, these are the things we should do to try to get you to this point, you know the mid-summer point a little bit earlier. It’s paid off so far.”

Are you seeing Alex Rodriguez bounce back in an incredible way from hip surgery a year-and-half ago like everyone else is claiming?

“Of course. It’s incredible what I’ve seen with Alex [Rodriguez] this spring. You know when you have major surgery like a hip and you can’t do the things you were able to do your entire career it wears on you a little bit. It wears on you a little bit physically and mentally. Even with that hip Alex [Rodriguez] has had two great years the last two years, but this year in spring training he’s been the Alex of old where I expect him to go out there and win an MVP this season.”

Are you aware the Red Sox haven’t won a game yet and the Orioles are undefeated? Or is it way too early to worry about how other teams are doing?

“You know, we are aware. In this media age and with the scoreboards all over the stadium it’s hard not to [know], but at the same time it’s way too early to make any conclusions. If the Red Sox don’t win a game all season I’ll be pretty surprised and if the Orioles go undefeated I’ll be pretty surprised, but at the same time we all know how tough our division is and if we don’t take care of our own business it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing because we’ll get left in the dust. This is a great division this year.”

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