In less than 24 hours, Mark Teixeira went from having what was believed to be a minor wrist injury to being out eight to 10 weeks with a strained right wrist.
“It’s not what you want, but it’s what you’ve got to deal with,” manager Joe Girardi said.
On Tuesday, Teixeira strained his wrist taking some swings at the indoor cage while preparing for his appearance with Team USA at the World Baseball Classic.
The official diagnosis is a strained ECU tendon.
Teixeira was going to be the starting first baseman at the World Baseball Classic, but now he won’t be playing any first base until May. Eight weeks from Wednesday is May 1 when the Yankees are home against Houston and 10 weeks from Wednesday is May 15 when the Yankees host Seattle.
"I'm obviously worried about it," general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Tuesday. "Wrists are very unpredictable. Even if you can get a positive diagnosis back — which of course we're going to hope for — that still doesn't mean we're out of the woods, because wrists are tricky. They're hard to get a handle on."
The unpredictable nature of wrist injuries can be illustrated by the example of Toronto slugger Jose Bautista. Bautista suffered a left wrist injury fouling a pitch off against Yankee reliever David Robertson last July 16, then missed virtually the rest of the season and eventually needed surgery on a tendon sheath in his left wrist.
By being out that long, Teixeira will have played in four regular-season games since Aug. 27 and 13 including the postseason. He missed most of last September with a strained left calf suffered trying to beat out a grounder in Baltimore.
At least the Yankees had a veteran backup at that point. Nick Swisher filled in at first base down the stretch, but the Yankees let him sign with the Indians.
A possible candidate if the Yankees do not make a trade is Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis was signed to a one-year deal to fill the void left by Alex Rodriguez’s hip injury but played over 100 games at first base in four seasons for the Red Sox. He has only appeared there 32 times over the previous two seasons.
Travis Hafner, however, is not a candidate. He was signed to be the team’s designated hitter and has not played first base since 2007.
Another first baseman in camp is Dan Johnson, who has played 328 of his 341 major league games at the position. Juan Rivera, who is primarily an outfielder, also has some experience there after playing in 54 games at first for the Dodgers last season.
Teixeira’s wrist injury is just the latest injury issue for the Yankees.
Besides Rodriguez’s injury, Curtis Granderson is out until May after breaking his right forearm on Feb. 24, Derek Jeter is expected to play in a game on Sunday for the first time after fracturing his left ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS and Mariano Rivera is coming off a major knee injury suffered last May.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.