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Teixeira finds home run stroke out West

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Great American newspaper editor Horace Greeley once said, "Go West, young man."

Mark Teixeira took that advice to heart.

The New York Yankees first baseman rediscovered his power stroke on the Golden Coast over Memorial Day weekend, completely turning around his season in four games.

The Yankees swept Oakland at O.co Coliseum on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before losing to the Los Angeles Angels, 9-8, at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Monday.

In those four games, Teixeira hit four balls out of the park while driving in nine runs. Overall, he went 10-for-16 with five runs scored.

New York scored 25 runs in those four games, so Teixeira had a hand in 56 percent of the Yankees' offense in that span.

With the surge, Teixeira raised his batting average from .226 to .263, his slugging percentage from .381 to .491 and his OPS from .671 to .821.

Greeley's quote about marching westward concerned Manifest Destiny, the belief that America was destined to stretch from coast to coast and that its destiny would be realized by taking every territory on the path toward the Pacific Ocean.

Interestingly, Teixeira also had to travel west to realized his destiny -- to always perform at an elite level from May to September after looking like he was swinging a garden hose in April.

By now, Yankees fans, Teixeira supporters and fantasy owners know all about the slugger's early season struggles.

He's one of the more notorious slow starters in all of baseball. In his career, Teixeira has a .767 OPS in April and an OPS .899 or higher in every other month. But the Yankees first baseman was running out of time to make an impact in May, as the month ends on Thursday.

After the weekend power display, Teixeira is back on track for 30 homers and 100 RBIs, but don't be surprised if he exceeds those numbers.

Teixeira dealt with a debilitating bronchial illness that caused a severe cough and blocked his air passages since April 12. Teixeira refused a day off, so the cough continued to plague him. It limited the time he could dedicate to working out and performing hitting drills in the batting cage.

However, his condition has improved over the past few days, and as the cough has dissipated, the power has increased exponentially.

Perhaps taking three games off from May 18-20 allowed Teixeira to clear his bronchial passages, and batting seventh upon his return to the lineup on May 21 allowed him to clear his mind, because since he came back, he's been on base via hit or walk in 18 out of his 31 plate appearances, an OBP of .580.

Though Teixeira will no longer have the West coast sunshine to comfort him after the Yankees finish up with the Angels on Wednesday, the heat emanating from his own bat and the long New York summer that awaits should be enough to keep him from California dreamin' for too long.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.


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