Yankees’ Kevin Long Hoping to Help Mark Teixeira Rebound

One of the biggest differences between the 2009 Yankees and 2010 Yankees was Mark Teixeira.

In 2009 he showed up with a big salary and big expectations and fulfilled those by leading the league in home runs, RBI’s, and total bases. In 2010 his batting average dropped to .256 and his slugging percentage dropped below .500 for the first time since his rookie year. Hands down 2010 was Teixeira’s worst year since 2003.

Injuries were part of it, but don’t explain the whole thing. Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci caught up with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long recently and the two discussed Teixeira and Long’s plan to help him make 2010 an aberration instead of the start of something bad.

The three area’s Long identified that need the biggest help are his poor starts, his unorthodox mechanics, and his poor opposite-field hitting.

Without recapping the entire article, Long has plans for working with Teixeira in all three areas. He doesn’t expect miracles, but he notes that he plans similar adjustments as he made with Nick Swisher last year before Swish had a career year in 2010. The fear, according to Verducci, is that if Teixeira fails to make these adjustments there is a real danger that his age will catch up with him and he’ll become the next Jason Giambi.

What do you think? Is Teixeira in real danger of experiencing a similar drop in skills as Giambi did? Can Long fix him? Or is this entire thing overblown?

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13 Responses to Yankees’ Kevin Long Hoping to Help Mark Teixeira Rebound

  1. Terrible idea. Teixeira still has 5 years left on his deal, 4 when Pujols is a free agent. His contract makes him untradable. Pujols will also be 32 in 2012 and he'll start dropping off soon too.

    • highlander64 says:

      This was Tex's first off year if comparing batting average…the one concern I have is how long it took for him to snap out of his early year funk. I see Tex as having a few more good years. Somehow he still draws walks and scores runs and his power numbers are respectable. He's no Pujols offensively but who is?

  2. af says:

    I was down for the Teixeira deal when it happened. But he seemed so complacent with his slow start last year that I soured on him. Then he was playing hurt in Sept, and now I don't know what to make of him. Of course I realize he's untradable, just venting.

  3. Mike S. says:

    Nice piece on Long on the MLB Network site where he discusses his techniques that he uses with Alex & Cano.

  4. bob says:

    Only comment is that you picked a great photo of Tex swinging. I have seen pics with the bat bent but not with the ball flattened.

  5. Will says:

    Huge concerns about his inability to hit in October for the 2nd straight year. Coupled with his horrendous April and May, he was useless offensively for 3 months of the year. The October thing is what really concerns me.

    • highlander64 says:

      October is a concern…Tex presses too much. He needs to relax at the plate. He looks like a man with hemorrhoids

    • I'm not overly concerned about his October performances. 2009 is too small a sample size to really judge a guy and in 2010 he was dealing with multiple injuries. Not that big of a deal in my mind. If he's healthy the next time the Yankees are in the playoffs, he'll hit.

      • highlander64 says:

        Hope you're right but some of these guys dial it up during the post-season and others choke. Not sure yet about Tex longer-term but Will makes a good point.

  6. Outta Leftfield says:

    IMHO there is no reason at all to get sour on Tex. He just had his first-ever off year, but it was pretty darn good for an off year, in that he hit 33 HR, with 108 RBI, and scored a league leading 113 runs with a 125 OPS+. None of this was as good as 2009, but if that's an off year, he must be a heckuva player. Plus, he's a Gold Glove fielder (something Giambi never was or could be). He's only 30 and he's fundamentally a better hitter than Swisher, who has benefitted greatly from Kevin Long's tutelage. So I'm with Rob on this one. I'm particularly hoping Tex can avoid a terrible start this year.

    Anyway, I'm anticipating a strong bounce-back season from Tex. I'm more worried about Jeter. Derek might well have a great 2011 if he can shorten his stroke as Long advises, but at age 36, Derek has less leeway–one of these years (hope it's later rather than sooner) Jeter's going to hit a slump that he can't pull himself out of.

  7. David K. says:

    As I have said before, Tex is a guess hitter who tries to jerk everything out of the park. Before you can fix his swing, you need to fix his brain. It's not too likely, seeing as this all or nothing approach has been his m.o. for his entire career. Best you can hope for is that he doesn't dig himself as bad a hole as he did last season. But he struggles for the first month in every year.

  8. kevin says:

    I hope Kevin Long can straighten out Tex, he looked like he should have been on the PGA tour with that golf swing last season.