Teixeira takes Player of Month honors
Slugger drove in NL-high 32 runs in first month with Braves
ATLANTA -- Mark Teixeira was everything the Atlanta Braves thought he would be when they acquired the switch-hitting first baseman from the Texas Rangers at the 2007 trade deadline.
Everything, and so much more.
Teixeira won the National League's Player of the Month Award for August after hitting .315 (35-for-111) and knocking in an NL-high 32 RBIs in his first month with the Braves. His 10 home runs in August were also tied for first in the NL.
"He's a special player," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He gives you everything he's got every time he goes out there."
Teixeira set the tone for his memorable month in his Braves debut Aug. 1. He introduced himself to his new team with four RBIs, including a towering three-run homer in the sixth, to pace Atlanta to a 12-3 victory over Houston.
The newest Brave felt the love from the Atlanta fans after the deep fly.
"I've had a few curtain calls in my career and the fans tell you," Teixeira said after the game. "After the at-bat, if they're still cheering and they're still yelling, they want you to do it. It was fun going out there.
"The win was most important. I didn't want to come here the first day and have a disappointment."
Despite Teixeira's torrid August, the month has been a disappointment for the Braves. Entering August, Atlanta was 3 1/2 games behind the New York Mets for first in the NL East race, and 1 1/2 games back in the NL Wild Card. After a 13-15 August, though, the Braves slipped to 5 1/2 games back in both races.
"It's not his fault," teammate Chipper Jones said. "Mark has done everything asked of him. He has hit homers. He's driven in a ton of runs. There's been no shortage of offense from the middle of the lineup."
Teixeira had 13 multi-hit games in August, and added back-to-back multi-home run games Aug. 19 against Arizona and Aug. 20 at Cincinnati to highlight his month.
"That's Barry Bondsesque," Atlanta's Tim Hudson said of Teixeira's numbers. "He's been unbelievable for us. It's sad to say, but I wonder what we would have done without him? He's been a shot in the arm for us. But for some reason, we've managed to drop a few games [in the standings]."
Other players receiving votes were New York teammates David Wright (.394, six home runs, 21 RBIs) and Carlos Beltran (.338, six home runs, 23 RBIs), Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez (.374, five home runs, 29 RBIs); Houston's Lance Berkman (.345, nine home runs, 20 RBIs); Philadelphia teammates Jayson Werth (.414, three home runs, 19 RBIs) and Pat Burrell (.290, 10 home runs, 25 RBIs); and Cincinnati's Jeff Keppinger (.393, three home runs, 12 RBIs).
Teixeira will receive a Sharp AQUOS full HD LCD-TV and a specially designed trophy for his achievement. But right now, the Braves' slugger is focused on salvaging Atlanta's season and making a run at the postseason.
"I came here to help this team win," Teixeira said. "I don't just want to help score runs. I want to help the entire team play better. I just wish we were getting a few more wins."
Marc Zarefsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.