When Mark Teixeira returns to the Bronx against all odds, the New York Yankees will not be as thrilled as they would like to be.

Mark Teixeira can mean a great deal to a team. He not only provides the New York Yankees with a gold glove and a power bat, but he puts forth first base stability and spaces the lineup.

While all of these are focal points of a great position player, none of it comes without a clean bill of health.

Honestly, who knows if Tex was playing hurt before going down. With that said, he was not able to perform and it is uncertain as to whether he will at a high level ever again. His .180/.271/.263 slash with 12 RBIs in 48 games as a 36-year-old is not telling at all, and now he is attempting to accomplish something that a 26-year-old likely could not do.

The Yankee first baseman is recovering from an articular cartilage tear in his knee. It has been made clear that in younger patients, a major surgery fixes the issue. In older patients, knee replacement is the primary option.

However, Teixeira has decided to disregard all evident signs that the injury has portrayed. The cartilage tear will not heal without a surgical procedure, taking the word “recovery” out of this whole equation.

He will not recover at the moment, meaning the absurd hope of not aggravating the area while performing at a high level is currently in his mind. Not only can Tex aggravate this spot, but he can hurt it further and dig himself a deeper hole.

Following another rehab game last night, he told Scranton beat writer Shane Hennigan that “I’m just crossing my fingers hoping it doesn’t happen”. He was referring to his knee locking up when making that statement.

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Well, it does not take a bright mind to draw that as an inconclusive sign. In fact, this can only mean negative things for the Bronx Bombers.

Whether Teixeira produces or not, and all likelihood points to him struggling, they will have this nagging concept of a career hanging in the balance each and every day. Given the circumstances, he simply is not in a position to succeed.

It makes logical sense that the 13-year veteran would not want to risk his contract season and potentially his career with a surgery, but it looking less and less likely that he can play anywhere near his potential without it.

Without a fraction of his potential, what is he playing for?

Certainly not a contract, certainly not the team, and certainly not himself.

He does not seem to have come to grasps with the realization that his knee locking up at some point is inevitable. When it happens, he will have no backup solution given that he rushed himself back and did not go under the knife from the get-go.

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Essentially what the team is receiving is the identical version of the Teixeira they had beforehand, yet banged up, presumably a tick slower, and ten times more cautious.

When he delivers answers such as “I don’t know” and “I hope not”, he is delivering nothing short of pure uncertainty. While his return is definitely an addition, it can very easily be a subtraction within a short matter of time.

Perhaps this should have been thought through with a lot more clarity than there is now, because the Yankees are about to receive a timid, nearly crippled, and largely underperforming first baseman when they start their weekend set in the Bronx.

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Emmanuel hosts the Earn Your Stripes Podcast for Elite Sports NY. A Long Island native, he is currently a student at Fordham University (Bronx, NY) pursuing a career in sports broadcasting.