'Flexibility' quickens Teixeira's bat speed

'Flexibility' quickens Teixeira's bat speed

BALTIMORE -- Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has traditionally been a slow starter. But he made a few adjustments before the season that helped him start much faster.

Teixeira, who grew up 20-30 minutes from Oriole Park, said he spent more time hitting in the offseason and during Spring Training. That could be why he came into Sunday's game against the Orioles batting .279 with six homers and 16 RBIs.

"I hit a lot more this winter, but I also hit more in Spring Training and lifted less weights," Teixeira said. "I think it's more of a flexibility and bat-speed issue. This Spring Training, I hit more, lifted a little less and I came in with a pretty quick bat."

In past seasons, Teixeira consistently started slow but always seemed to rebound in late spring and get hot in the summer. But he said he was preparing to get through the grind of a 162-game season.

"We play 162 games; we don't play 25," Teixeira said. "If we only played 25, you'd better believe I would focus all of my attention on having the best 25 games I can. But we don't do that. We have to focus on having the best 162, and sometimes, preparing for a long season, you have to play with your preparation. This Spring Training, I did."