By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Yankees slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira, who has played just 15 games this season due to a wrist injury, will undergo surgery and miss the rest of the year, the injury-hit team said on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old Teixeira, a two-time All-Star who sustained the injury while taking batting practice for the U.S. team at the World Baseball Classic (WBC), will undergo surgery to repair a tear on the tendon sheath of his wrist.
Teixeira hit for a meager .151 batting average with three home runs and 12 runs batted for the Yankees this season after producing 24 home runs and 84 RBIs for the AL East champions last year.
"I would love to be a part of this team," said Teixeira. "But once your realize it's not going to happen, it's very difficult. The final point was this past Sunday when after a week the final cortisone shot did not work."
The switch-hitter, a five-time Gold Glove winner as the league's top fielding first baseman, is just one of a slew of Yankees who have been missed substantial time through injury.
Captain Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez, baseball's active career home run leader and the major league's highest-paid player, have yet to play this season as Jeter recovers from a broken ankle and Rodriguez from hip surgery.
Outfielder Curtis Granderson, who broke his forearm after he was hit by a pitch and missed 38 games, was sidelined shortly after he returned when he was hit by another pitch that broke a finger.
The Yankees have also been without back-up shortstop Eduardo Nunez, out with a strained rib muscle, while Kevin Youkilis, signed to fill in for Rodriguez at third base, is sidelined by a back injury that requires surgery.
WBC NOT TO BLAME
Teixeira played his first game of the season on May 31 but after 15 games reinjured the wrist and has been sidelined since.
He said doctors told him he would need five months of rest and rehabilitation and would be 100 percent in six months with no worries about further problems from the injury.
The first baseman said doctors called it an "overuse injury" and he did not blame his participation in the WBC, saying the injury could have surfaced at any time.
"It's very tough. I've been very blessed in my career to be relatively healthy," he said.
"I averaged 150 games the first 10 years of my career and I played 15 games this year. For me that's very tough."
Despite having to use a makeshift lineup to cover for injuries, New York has a 42-34 record for second place in the AL East, three games behind the Boston Red Sox and Yankees manager Joe Girardi said they would just have to carry on.
"I've always said you worry about the guys that are in the room at the time," Girardi said.
"There's talk about the other guys coming back, but until we have them they're not in that room.
"It's tough when you miss players. (But) No one's going to feel sorry for you."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)