Updated: 10/20/10 6:20 a.m.
NEW YORK (AP) — Mark Teixeira’s season ended in a painful grimace instead of a jubilant celebration.
If the Yankees don’t figure out a way to start coming up with some clutch hits soon, their year will end in disappointment, too.
The slumping Teixeira strained his right hamstring running out a grounder in the fifth inning of New York’s 10-3 loss to the Texas Rangers in Game 4 of the AL championship series on Tuesday night.
“It’s pretty bad right now,” he said after having an MRI at New York-Presbyterian Hospital that showed a grade-2 strain. Teixeira said he was told the injury will need six to eight weeks to heal.
Trailing 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Yankees might not even get a shot at playing the two more weeks they’d need to repeat as World Series champions.
Baseball’s highest-scoring offense in the regular season is hitting just .198 for the series. The Yankees were 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position in Game 4.
With men on first and second and none out in the fifth, Teixeira hit a grounder to third, and Michael Young stepped on the bag for the forceout. Teixeira, trying to avoid a double play, grabbed at the back of his leg and winced in pain as he stumbled through a few uneven strides before sliding awkwardly into first. He was called safe on a wide throw from Young.
“Ran as hard as I could. It just gave. I could feel it,” Teixeira said. “I never hurt my hamstring in my life.”
Manager Joe Girardi and assistant trainer Steve Donohue came out to check on the two-time All-Star as the Yankee Stadium crowd became eerily quiet. There was little protest from the Yankees first baseman as he was taken out of the game amid groans from the home fans.
“Disappointing. Angry,” said Teixeira, who played through a broken toe and sore thumb for much of the second half. “You play all year, you battle all year to get a chance to help your team out in the World Series, hopefully.
“It’s not going to happen this year.”
Girardi said the Yankees plan to bring up infielder Eduardo Nunez on Wednesday. Teixeira could be replaced on the ALCS roster, but that would make him ineligible for the World Series if New York advances.
The No. 3 hitter is 0 for 14 in the ALCS, his second straight rough postseason. Last year, he batted .180 (11 for 61) in the playoffs, but hit a game-winning homer against Minnesota in the division series.
Still, the three-time Gold Glove winner has provided stellar defense. He started a difficult 3-6-1 double play in the fifth inning Tuesday, ranging far to his right while avoiding a shard from Mitch Moreland’s broken bat to field the ball.
And despite his struggles at the plate, he’s always a threat. Teixeira slumped early this season but ended up hitting 33 homers and driving in 108 runs while playing hurt.
“It’s tough, any time a guy like that goes down, you know one of the biggest parts of our team,” outfielder Brett Gardner said. “There’s nothing you can do about it. You know, just keep grinding and keep fighting, and there are 10 guys that are capable of stepping up and filling in and taking over for him. That’s what we’re going to try and do.”
The Yankees can use all the help they can get after repeatedly failing to come up with the big hit Tuesday.
Alex Rodriguez was 0 for 2, ending a threat in the fifth by grounding into a double play. He is hitting .133 for the series.
New York loaded the bases with one out on three walks in the eighth, but Nick Swisher popped out to center field, and Lance Berkman hit into a fielder’s choice.
“It’s tough, but at the same time you can’t sit around and feel sorry for yourselves,” shortstop Derek Jeter said of losing Teixeira. “We have some other guys that are going to have to step in and do the job.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.