Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Where are they now - Mark Tiexiera

Short article on MT:

"TEX" TEIXEIRA: Griffey Jr.'s counterpart in the Texas Rangers' lineup - cleanup hitter Mark Teixeira - isn't a junior in the familial sense.

But he is a chip off the old block. His father, John - nicknamed "Tex" - played his collegiate ball at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where Teixeira the younger was born April 11, 1980.

There wasn't any way the kid could be kept in Annapolis, however, after breaking the Maryland prep record for career home runs (29), RBI (105) and runs (128). Teixeira headed for Georgia Tech and hit .409 with 36 home runs and 165 RBI in 140 games over three years. He was the Rangers' No. 1 draft pick (fifth overall) in 2001, and last year hit the third-most home runs ever by a rookie switch hitter (26), behind Eddie Murray's and Tony Clark's 27.

The first baseman already is one of the brightest young lights in the junior circuit, and Reds fans would do well to follow him in the remaining two games here, given his engaging personality and passion for the game.

"It would be kind of an honor to see Griffey hit his 500th here - as long as we win the game," Teixeira said. "I've heard nothing but great things about him, and I know how great he is for the game now that he's healthy again."

Teixeira is a fan of interleague play.

"It's always fun to go to different major-league cities and play against guys you don't usually play," he said. "It's great to switch things up and make the season a little more fun."

Teixeira is part of the crew of young Rangers who had the club eight games over .500 (34-26) going into Tuesday's game. Among the others are third baseman Hank Blalock (day off Tuesday), shortstop Michael Young, right fielder Kevin Mench, catcher Gerald Laird (on disabled list until August) and center fielder Laynce Nix (15-day DL).