04/16/12 2:45 AM ET
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By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Teixeira taking slow start in stride
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira said that he has unfortunately grown accustomed to dealing with slow starts, but the Yankees first baseman isn't pleased by the situation."I've gotten used to it," Teixeira said. "I had a great start last year, but that was definitely not the norm. I've always been a slow starter; I don't know why." Teixeira, who entered Sunday batting .188 with no home runs and one RBI, said that he is getting frustrated by the sluggish opening to his season, but he will not permit it to alter his approach. "At the end of the year, I can be proud of my baseball card," Teixeira said. "The back of my baseball card looks pretty good. I think that's what I always think about. All the preparation I do, all the work I put in, it's for 162 [games], not for eight, in this case." Yankees manager Joe Girardi expressed confidence that, by the end of the season, Teixeira's numbers will be where the team hopes they should be. Girardi said that he wouldn't want Teixeira to attempt punching the ball to left field or dropping bunts to pick up some easy singles and help his numbers. "I don't want a guy to start trying to poke the ball," Girardi said. "That's not what we're paying Mark Teixeira to do, to poke the ball. We expect him to drive in runs. His average was down some last year, but no one complained about the home runs and RBIs. "That's what we want from him, we want the run production, and that's going to come. I believe he'll have another big year, run-production-wise. You don't want a guy to change his swing so much that he's not who you went out and signed." Teixeira was disappointed with his .248 batting average last year and suggested he needed to change his approach against right-handed pitching, but he also finished 2011 slugging 39 homers and driving in 111 runs. "We've been through this before and he has put up some pretty good years," Girardi said. "For me, I don't get too worried about  at-bats."
Girardi was impressed by Andy Pettitte's results in his start for the Class A Tampa Yankees in which he hurled four scoreless innings and threw 31 of 47 pitches for strikes. Girardi suggested that Pettitte would increase his workload in his next start by about 15 pitches. Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Monday in Tampa, Fla., as he returns from right shoulder inflammation. Girardi said that "everything so far has gone well" with Pineda, who isn't expected to be at the big league level before May. After throwing 78 pitches of long relief on Sunday for the Yankees, right-hander David Phelps will be unavailable until at least Thursday against the Twins. Phelps will likely throw a light side session in between to determine how he is recovering. On this date in 1958, Yogi Berra marked his fourth consecutive Opening Day with a home run, slugging a two-run blast in the seventh inning to help Don Larsen and the Bombers past the Red Sox, 3-0.
On this date in 1976, the Yankees played their first game at the remodeled Yankee Stadium, defeating the Twins, 11-4. Minnesota's Dan Ford had the first hit, a two-run homer in the first inning, but Mickey Rivers and Oscar Gamble each logged three hits and two RBIs.