NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — On a 42-degree day that felt much colder in the strong wind, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was on a mission to show this year will be different.

And boy, did he.

A notorious slow starter, Teixeira connected off Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander in the third inning for a three-run blast.

“I was looking forward to this Opening Day for a lot of reasons,” Teixeira said. “For one thing, we started in Boston last year and in Baltimore in 2009, this was my first real Opening Day at Yankee Stadium.”

A .235 hitter in April (.166 in two season with the Yankees), the first baseman didn’t get his first hit last season until his fifth game.

“I’ve been petitioning the league to start in March for years,” Teixeira said. “Finally they let us start in March because everybody knows my Aprils.”

“It’s always good to get that first hit of the season out of the way,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I hope it means a fast start for him, because that could mean a fast start for us.”

LISTEN: Mark Teixeira starts 2011 off strong

Even with his terrible April last season, Teixeira ended 2010 with 33 home runs and 103 RBIs. The numbers look good, but Tex doesn’t want a repeat.

“Last year was awful, just awful, embarrassing,” said the first baseman. “I don’t want to go through that again.”

So what was the difference this spring? Teixeira says it was more work in the cage with hitting coach Kevin Long and less in the weight room.

“I told him, ‘My bat feels a little slow sometimes. I’m a little tired maybe to start the season because of all the extra work in spring training. And in the weight room and defensively,’” Teixeira said. “And he said, ‘OK, let’s hit a little bit more this off-season. Let’s hit a little bit more in spring training and cut back on some of the other things,’” said Teixeira. “And hopefully it’s going to work.”

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It’s early, but do you see a difference already in Teixeira? Let us know in the comments below…

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