It’s probably better that I didn’t ask him on Wednesday. Texeira was packing his baseball gear into a Kansas City Royals equipment bag in the Scranton clubhouse before the game, minutes after finding out he’d been released by the New York Yankees.
The 25-year-old righty reliever will be looking to join his fourth organization in less than two seasons, as it was the Royals who had picked him up midway through the 2010 season after he’d been let go by the Seattle Mariners. Texeira broke camp with Kansas City this season and pitched well in six outings, but was sent down to Triple-A Omaha, where he got hit around and ultimately designated for assignment. Picked up by the Yankees — who originally acquired him prior to the start of the 2009 season in the Nick Swisher deal — things didn’t go much better.
Pitching through an oblique injury that had him on the disabled list at the time of Wednesday’s release, Texeira allowed 16 hits and 13 runs (11 earned) in just 4 1/3 innings of work before being shut down after the first week of June.
“The experience in the big leagues this year was great, I had a good spring,” said the Hawaiian-born Texeira.
“I didn’t do too bad this year when I was in the big leagues, but once I got sent down to Triple-A Omaha, I was kind of flustered. I was in the big leagues the whole year last year and busted my tail to break camp with them again. To get demoted like that, it was tough to take it in. Then before I got here, I sat in Omaha for about ten days. And when you sit for ten days, you think too much about what you’re going to do and what’s going on. When I got here, I was pitching hurt. I tried to pitch through it and I couldn’t. My numbers here show that something’s wrong.”
At the time, it seemed like a return to the Yankees organization could be a blessing in disguise for the well-liked reliever. In his lone season in the system in 2009, Texeira starred for Double-A Trenton, posting a 9-6 record with a 2.84 ERA while shuttling back and forth between a spot starter and middle relief role. He pitched well despite pitching 40 1/3 innings more than his previous career high, and that was what got the attention of the Mariners, who selected him in the Rule 5 Draft later that year. It was also what put him back on the Yankees radar once he became available.
“When they called me and said I was getting designated, I said ‘Oh shoot, here we go.’ And the coach in Triple-A said, ‘Watch, you’ll probably go back to the Yankees,'” Texeira said.
“And what do you know, the next day I got the call and I came back. I was excited to come back. It’s better than going to a different team where I didn’t know anybody. Here I know guys, and it all clicks.”
A potential downside for Texeira, at the time, was that he never got an opportunity to climb the ladder with the Yankees. Despite being in constant consideration for a promotion to Scranton, his first opportunity in Triple-A with New York would ultimately come this season and not in 2009, when he was lights out for nearly the entire season.
“This game is a crazy game, there’s guys here that should be in the big leagues,” Texeira said.
“You just have to be patient and wait and take advantage of when it happens, if it happens. You can’t really complain. You throw a ball for a living, so you can’t really be mad about that. Sooner or later, you’re going to catch a break.”
Unfortunately for Texeira, that break will now have to come with a different organization.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com