Teixeira staying focused on baseball

Teixeira staying focused on baseball

LOS ANGELES -- Mark Teixeira remembers the distractions that his Rangers teammates faced last year when his name began to be linked to numerous trade rumors. While it's highly unlikely that he'll be able to avoid being linked to rumors again leading up to this year's trade deadline, he hopes his Braves teammates aren't distracted.

"I just hope that it's not a distraction to the team because we still have a chance to win," Teixeira said. "The last thing we need is for trade rumors to start because nobody in here has given up."

After winning two of three against the Astros this weekend, the Braves began this current six-game road trip with Monday night's loss to the Dodgers, in which Teixeira got their lone hit with an eighth-inning double. They're still looking for their first winning road trip of the season and if they encounter one this week, they'll increase the chance of Teixeira sticking around past this year's trade deadline.

With Monday's loss, the Braves stayed six games behind the front-running Phillies in the National League East race. That's one more game than the maximum deficit Braves general manager Frank Wren stated he'd like to face heading into the All-Star break.

When the Braves acquired Teixeira from the Rangers at last year's trade deadline, they justified giving up many talented prospects by saying the switch-hitting first baseman could help them compete for a world championship for two consecutive seasons.

Last year, the Braves didn't advance to the postseason and if it seems they're facing the same fate again this year, they'll look to deal Teixeira, whom many project to sign elsewhere when he becomes a free agent this offseason.

There have been rumors that the Red Sox are interested in Teixeira and beliefs that the Angels might show some interest. But the 28-year-old first baseman, who had hit .349 with six homers in his previous 13 games entering Monday, says he hasn't been distracted.

"I've been through everything you can go through in the game," Teixeira said. "Once you get between the lines, nothing else matters."

Teixeira will look to continue keeping his focus Tuesday night, when Jair Jurrjens takes the hill for the Braves against the Dodgers. This matchup will give Jurrjens a chance to gain more bragging rights against fellow Curacao native Andruw Jones.

Before facing the Dodgers in Atlanta earlier this year, Jurrjens predicted he would strike out Jones and then proceeded to do so three times. But the 22-year-old hurler isn't ready to make any more predictions regarding the former Braves Gold Glove outfielder.

"If you talk too much, it will come back to bite you," Jurrjens said.

Pitching matchup
ATL: RHP Jair Jurrjens (8-4, 3.09 ERA)
Before allowing four runs to the Phillies on Thursday night, Jurrjens had gone three consecutive starts (21 2/3 innings) without allowing an earned run. The three homers -- all solo shots -- he surrendered were two fewer than he'd allowed in his first 16 starts of the season. This was the first loss in nine starts for the 22-year-old right-hander, who limited the Dodgers to one earned run in seven innings on April 20.

LAD: RHP Chad Billingsley (8-7, 3.12 ERA)
Billingsley has a four-game win streak, although his most recent victory in Houston wasn't nearly as bizarre as the previous one, in which the Dodgers scored the game's only run without a hit. Nonetheless, Billingsley has emerged as the most consistent starter on the club, with three quality starts in his last four outings after losing his first four decisions. He hasn't allowed an earned run in his past 15 innings and has limited opponents to a .224 batting average in his past four starts.

Tidbits
After a rain delay of nearly two hours Sunday, the Braves beat the Astros in a 17-inning game that lasted a Turner Field-record five hours and 35 minutes. Then they encountered a delay at the Atlanta airport of more than an hour. By the time they got in their hotel rooms in Pasadena, Calif., it was approximately 5:30 a.m. ET. ... Right-handed reliever Phil Stockman is on the disabled list at Triple-A Richmond with a strained left hamsting. That's one of the reasons the Braves had to purchase Vladimir Nunez's contract from Richmond before Monday's game.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• SPSO

On radio
• WGST 640, 94.9 FM, Viva 105.7 (Español)

Up next
• Wednesday: Braves (Tim Hudson, 9-6, 3.19) at Dodgers (Derek Lowe, 6-8, 4.02), 10:10 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Braves (Jo-Jo Reyes, 3-7, 4.40) at Padres (Jake Peavy, 6-5, 2.67), 10:05 p.m. ET

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.