- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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NEW YORK -- Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said Thursday his strained right hamstring feels great almost three weeks after the injury ended his season in the American League Championship Series. The Yankees slugger added that he could return to the diamond shortly.
"I feel great, I've been working out six days a week, three days really just on the leg, making sure that rehab is going well," Teixeira said before the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter's 16th Annual Lou Gehrig Sports Benefit at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, where he was later honored. "I think I'd probably be playing within a week or two, I'm not sure exactly, we're probably at three and a half weeks now, I think they said six to eight weeks at first, I'd probably be back sooner."
In the fifth inning of the Yankees' 10-3 loss to the Texas Rangers in Game 4 of the ALCS, Teixeira strained his right hamstring while running to first base. He was pulled from the game and later removed from the postseason roster because of the injury. The Yankees lost to the Rangers in six games.
Teixeira said that during the first week of the injury he was limping, but afterward, he felt better and he is doing everything besides sprinting.
In analyzing what it will take to get back to the World Series, Teixeira said he believes the team will have to be more consistent after not hitting and not pitching well in the ALCS. As expected, he said the Yankees could use the addition of left-handed starter Cliff Lee to bolster their rotation and he expects free agents Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera to remain in the Bronx.
"That's the easiest question you'll ever ask," Teixeira said. "Those guys are Yankee legends, they're going to be Yankees forever, it's just a matter of getting the contracts done. The Yankees want what's best for those guys, and those guys want what's best for the Yankees; they're going to come to an agreement."
Teixeira, who won an American League Gold Glove on Tuesday for his play at first base, also took time to defend Jeter's winning the Gold Glove at shortstop. Jeter's win had sparked some discussion as to whether he deserved the honor, as the 36-year-old posted a minus-4.7 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), according to FanGraphs.com. UZR is a defensive metric that measures how many runs a fielder is below or above in terms of range runs and error runs combined.
Teixeira, who was a minus-2.9 on the UZR scale, knocked the metric for placing fellow Gold Glove winner Robinson Cano at minus-0.6, as he called Cano the best second baseman he's ever seen, before saying that Jeter deserved his fifth Gold Glove.
"You have to realize that the flashy plays aren't where it's at and it's great if you get to a ball, people say, 'Ooh, look at this range.' Derek might not have as much of [a] range, but what good is it if you get to a ball and throw it away?" Teixeira said. "When I played shortstop and third base, as a minor leaguer and in college, they told me if you can get to it, make sure you can make the play, don't throw it away and give them two bases. Derek, he had a great season at short, he turns a double play as good as anybody, and he deserved a Gold Glove."
Matt Ehalt is a contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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