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Teixeira hopes early spring start means fast open

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Mark Teixeira hopes that revving up earlier to play in the World Baseball Classic will help him avoid a sluggish start to his season.

Teixeira is one of two Yankees participating in the tournament, joining second baseman Robinson Cano. He said that once he committed to the Classic, Teixeira reached out to hitting coach Kevin Long and wanted to speed up his preparation for the season.

"When I found out I was going to play in the WBC, I called K-Long and said, 'Let's not build up to Opening Day; let's build up to the WBC and the first of March,'" Teixeira said. "I think that will be good. There's never really a sense of urgency because Spring Training is six weeks long.

"Now I kind of have two weeks to get ready, so I'm in great shape. I have no problem kind of ramping up the baseball activities, making sure my swing is right and my timing is right. Hopefully, it's going to be great for the WBC."

Teixeira also said that the quick start "absolutely" could ward off the April struggles that have marked his career; last year, it was slowed by a nagging cough, Teixeira hit just .244 with a .290 on-base percentage in the season's first month.

"I spend almost all offseason and all Spring Training lifting weights very hard, getting my body in shape for 162," Teixeira said. "Because of that, I think [in] April I'm a little tight, maybe a little sore. This year, I've cut back on that.

"I'm not really going to get any stronger as I get older. I just want to keep that strength, keep that flexibility, so I've cut back a little bit on the weightlifting already to make sure I'm not tight for the beginning of the season."

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