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ANGELS FYI

Mark Teixeira hopes the Angels have no hard feelings

"I hope there are no hard feelings between Arte and myself," Teixeira says before facing his ex-team for the first time.

May 01, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

NEW YORK — Negotiations between the Angels and Mark Teixeira did not end well last December.

Owner Arte Moreno, thinking Teixeira's agent was using the Angels' eight-year, $160-million bid to drive up the price for other teams, abruptly pulled the offer when told it would take something in the $180-million range to retain the free-agent slugger.

The Yankees then signed the first baseman for $180 million a few days before Christmas, leaving Moreno, the Angels and their fans quite frustrated with Teixeira, who hit .358 with 13 home runs and 43 runs batted in after being acquired from Atlanta on July 29.

The feeling is not mutual.

"I hope there are no hard feelings between Arte and myself," Teixeira said in Yankee Stadium before facing his ex-team for the first time Thursday. "I loved that organization. Arte, [Manager Mike] Scioscia, it's first class, top to bottom. But your wife and kids being happy is more important than your personal desires."

Teixeira called his Angels tenure "the best 2 1/2 months of my career," though the ending wasn't storybook. A team that led the major leagues with 100 wins and was favored to reach the World Series lost to the Red Sox in the first round.

"I sat and cried at my locker after that last game in Boston because I knew that was a special group, I knew how good a chance we had, and we let it slip away," Teixeira said.

"After the season, my wife and I stayed in L.A. for 10 days. I thought there was a really good chance I'd be back. It would be different if my family or my wife's family was from the West Coast."

But Teixeira's parents live in Baltimore, and his wife's parents live in Atlanta. Their proximity to New York, combined with the Yankees' top-dollar offer, persuaded Teixeira.

"I'm a businessman, too, and in the end, the Yankees made the best offer, and it was the best situation for my family," Teixeira said. " . . . I get to see my parents every week I'm home, and they get to see their grandkids. That's pretty special."

It will be even more special when Teixeira, a notoriously slow starter -- he has a .259 career average in April -- starts hitting.

Hampered by a sprained tendon sheath in his left wrist, an injury he suffered in the second game of the season, Teixeira began Thursday's game with a .197 average, three homers and 10 RBIs.

His replacement in Anaheim, Kendry Morales, was batting .288 with three homers and 14 RBIs.

"Other than hitting under the Mendoza Line, it's been a great transition," Teixeira said. "My wife loves it here, the ballpark is beautiful. Other than not getting any hits, I'm doing fine."

Rehab report

Ervin Santana, rehabilitating from a sprained elbow ligament, threw 45 pitches in three innings of an extended spring training game in Arizona on Wednesday, and John Lackey (forearm strain) completed the same workout Thursday in Arizona.

Scioscia said the two right-handers both felt good after their games and would make their next starts -- Monday and Tuesday -- for triple-A Salt Lake. They'll need two or three more rehab starts before joining the Angels.

Though Santana and Lackey will only be in the 75-pitch range after two more starts, Scioscia said having an extra reliever on the roster would allow them to return to the big leagues for their third start, where they can continue to build stamina, and their efforts won't be wasted in the minor leagues.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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