After suffering from a mysterious and persistent cough for more than two months, Mark Teixeira finally received an explanation during a Thursday doctor's visit.
The New York Yankees first baseman has nerve damage on his vocal cords, the product of an earlier bronchial infection. Though the damage may not fully heal for a year, Teixeira says he expects to control his coughing through prescribed medicine.
"I guess whatever illness I had, whatever infection I had, was severe enough to damage my vocal cords," Teixeira said. "That's why all my blood tests were clear, all my chest X-rays were clear, and the only thing I had was inflammation. Because when you have damaged vocal cords, you'll have a gag reflex. So it's actually really good news for me because they found a reason for all of this."
Teixeira's OPS of .771 is well below his career average of .899, but at least he has an excuse for another of his traditional slow starts. Coughing for two straight months sounds like the worst thing in the world and anyone who has seen Teixeira wheeze his way around the bases this season has to feel for him. If anything, it's amazing that Teixeira has only missed three games this season and has already hit 10 homers. That could not have been easy for the 32-year-old.
But with an explanation finally putting his mind at ease and the medicine getting to work, the Yankees will need Teixeira to return to his old self. With a little more than 4 1/2 years left on a contract that pays him $22.5 million a season, that OPS needs to stay north of .850.