Even though they're facing the AL's worst rotation, the New York Yankees could be in trouble without their top run producer following an overall poor showing at home.
As first baseman Mark Teixeira remains out due to injury, the Yankees look to bounce back with their fourth win in five games Tuesday night against the lowly Texas Rangers.
New York (50-48) learned before Monday's opener that Teixeira will be out for at least the entire series against the Rangers (40-59) because of a strained muscle in his back.
The former Texas slugger has been slowed by a left lower lat injury that was causing spasms in his back for about a month. He's hitless in his last 13 at-bats and just 2 for 20 with one extra-base hit and one RBI over his last six contests.
"Throwing, hitting - anything with any type of rotation, it's been pretty painful," said Teixeira, who has team highs of 17 home runs and 48 RBIs. "The spasms, unfortunately, have gone from my neck to my lower back, up and down the whole time."
After playing only 15 games last season because of a wrist injury that required surgery, Teixeira was looking forward to playing a full season in 2014, but he's already missed 21 games because of hamstring, back, knee and wrist problems.
The Yankees could have used Teixeira in the opener versus the Rangers, whose starters own an AL-high 5.15 ERA. New York finished with just five hits against Miles Mikolas and two relievers in a 4-2 loss that snapped a three-game win streak.
"I don't think anyone is going to dwell on this one," second baseman Brian Roberts said after the Yankees committed five errors in a nine-inning contest for the first time since August 1998.
Jacoby Ellsbury tried to pick up the offense, going 2 for 4 with a home run. He's batting .395 over his last nine games and is 10 for 23 in his last five versus Texas.
The short-handed Yankees look to regroup in what appears to be a favorable matchup against Nick Martinez (1-6, 5.10 ERA), who is coming off the disabled list following a left side injury.
The right-hander is 0-5 with an 8.10 ERA since his only career victory May 24 at Detroit. He gave up eight runs and three homers over five innings in an 8-3 loss at Baltimore on July 1.
The AL-worst Rangers, winners in only five of their last 29, will try to provide some run support for Martinez as they seek back-to-back victories for only the second time since a three-game run June 11-14.
Shin-Soo Choo ended an 0-for-22 slide Monday, going 2 for 5 with a double while playing in the outfield for the first time since July 9 because of a sprained left ankle.
Texas is hoping to get right fielder Alex Rios back after he missed two games with a sprained right ankle. Rios, batting .302, is on an 11-game hit streak against the Yankees.
Chase Whitley (4-3, 5.10) could be pitching for his spot in New York's thin rotation after allowing three runs over 3 2-3 innings while starting in place of Masahiro Tanaka in a 3-1 loss at Baltimore on July 13.
The right-hander has gone 0-3 with a 12.86 ERA while failing to make it out of the fifth inning in each of his last four starts.