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Mark Teixeira honored by Yankees before final MLB game

NEW YORK -- The Yankees commemorated Mark Teixeira's eight seasons in pinstripes, a stretch that included a pivotal role in the club's run to the 2009 World Series championship, with a ceremony at Yankee Stadium before Sunday's 5-2 lossloss to the Baltimore Orioles.

On an overcast, 60-degree day -- and with the team out of playoff contention on the final day of the regular season -- the ceremony was sparsely attended, but Teixeira received rousing ovations from the fans both during the ceremony and after his final round of batting practice as a Yankee earlier in the day.

"It was a little weird, but I think because I dealt with it for the last two months and understood what, I was kind of counting down the days," Teixeira said. "I prepared for it, mentally and emotionally. I prepared for it, so it wasn't as weird as I thought it was going to be. It was like, now that day is finally here.''

Teixeira announced earlier this year he would retire after this season.

"It was huge," Teixeira said. "I wanted to make sure that I got to say goodbye and thank you one last time. I couldn't have asked for anything more but a win. That would have been nice. Absolutely, that would have been nice. But I got a chance to say goodbye, which was very important.''

Accompanied by his wife, Leigh, and their three young children, Teixeira was honored with a video tribute that featured such highlights as his home run that ended Game 2 of the 2009 American League Division Series against the Minnesota Twins and the game-ending grand slam he hit Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox.

He was recognized for his charitable work with Harlem RBI, to which he has made sizable monetary donations, and was presented with a framed replica of his No. 25 jersey by Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner. He also received a base that was signed by all of his teammates;CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner, the only remaining members of the 2009 championship team on the Yankees' roster, presented it.

Teixeira, who was batting fifth and playing first base, grounded out in his first at-bat, but he made a sparkling play, diving to rob Matt Wieters of a potential double, to lead off the second inning.

He was removed from the game with one out in the seventh inning and received a standing ovation from the home crowd. After tipping his cap, he received hugs and congratulations in the dugout.Tyler Austintook over at first base.

"I told Joe, listen, I wouldn't be able to top what happened on Wednesday night no matter what," Teixeira said of Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "So knowing that, after my third at-bat I let him know. Whatever happened. If I hit a home run, I probably would have left after that home run, but after the third at-bat, I told him I was ready. He came out after the seventh and said let's get one out. He took me out.''

In his eight seasons with the Yankees, Teixeira batted .248 with 206 home runs, 622 RBIs and an .823 OPS. Overall, he was a .269 career hitter with 409 home runs (he is one of only five switch-hitters in baseball history with at least 400 home runs), 1,298 RBIs and an OPS of .870. He is also a three-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner at first base.

Teixeira played his first four seasons for the Rangers, split 2007 with Texas and the Braves and spent 2008 with Atlanta and theLos Angeles Angels.

But he said he would always be a Yankee.

"They're the team that I'll always be remembered for, I think," Teixeira said. "In my mind, I'm going to live here for a really, really long time and be coming to Yankee Stadium and take my kids to games here. Hopefully, if they honor the 2009 World Series sometime soon, I'll be back with all my old teammates."

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