Mark Teixeira‘s patience has been tested during his rehab from wrist surgery. Perhaps the holidays have helped him along.
Teixeira played in just 15 games with the Yankees last season and is working his way toward an Opening Day return in 2014. The switch-hitting first baseman found some time amid his rehab to discuss the holiday season, though, and he revealed to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch that Christmastime holds a special place in his heart. It’s been that way ever since Teixeira was a youngster growing up alongside his older sister, Elizabeth, in Severna Park, Md.
“It was always very exciting,” Teixeira reportedly said of his Christmas mornings as a kid. “We weren’t allowed to go downstairs and look under the tree until my parents were up. They had their showers and their coffee, and they were getting ready. It taught me a little bit of patience, which was great.
“Then we’d spend all day playing with our toys and having a nice breakfast with my family — my aunts, uncles and cousins would always come over, or we’d go over to their house. It was always a full day with family.”
Teixeira probably has tons of holiday memories, but one that sticks out to him is when he received a pool table at the age of 10 or 11. Teixeira, like most young athletes, played a number of sports, and billiards had become a favorite activity for him and his father.
“That year, I opened up a pool stick, and I was like, ‘This is cool,’” Teixeira reportedly recalled. “Then I opened up the next present, and they were billiards balls. The next present was chalk, and I was like, ‘Wait a second.’ So I started putting two and two together, and my parents said, ‘Why don’t you go look downstairs?’
“I ran downstairs and there was a pool table built. I don’t know how they pulled it off.”
Teixeira’s gifts so far this year include new teammates in the form of Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. The 33-year-old slugger still has one more wish on his Christmas list, though.
“I would love for us to round out our pitching staff, both in the starting rotation and the bullpen,” Teixeira told Hoch. “If we add a couple more pieces, I think we go into 2014 with a great shot.
“I know [Yankees general manager Brian Cashman] has worked really hard, and I give him a lot of credit for what he’s done so far. I wouldn’t mind unwrapping a present after Christmas with a couple more guys on the pitching staff, and we’ll be ready to roll.”
Good thing Teixeira is a patient man. Those final gifts are hard to find.