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Great Off-Season Baseball Tips for Kids from Yankees' Teixeira

Patch sat down with former Georgia Tech All-American and MLB All-Star Mark Teixeira and asked him for his best baseball tips. Share these with your favorite baseball player.

This past spring, former Georgia Tech All-American and New York Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira was named the “Commissioner of Patch Baseball.”

The two-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger and four-time Gold Glove Award-winner grew up in the Patch town of Severna Park, MD and lives in the Patch town of Greenwich, Conn.

Periodiclly he interacts with Patch users by responding to questions, sharing baseball tips, and posting exclusive videos.

Whether you live with Little Leaguers, newbie t-ball players, or just loyal baseball fans, it’s always a good time to sharpen your baseball skills. Today, we've asked Teixiera to give us his best advice on honing baseball skills in the off-season.

What are three things I can do to become a better fielder?

1. Make sure you know what to do if the ball is hit to you. Are there runners on base? How many outs are there? What is the score of the game? All of these factors decide where you will throw the ball when it is hit to you.

2. Your feet and legs are very important: make sure you are doing plenty of footwork, speed,and agility drills. This will put you in the best possible position to catch and throw the ball.

3. Practice every possible situation: don't just field ground balls or fly balls. Turn double plays,field slow rollers, barehanded plays, balls near the fence, and any other play that could occur during a game.

What are three things I can do to become a better hitter?

1. The tee is not just for little kids: Hitting off of a tee is the drill that I do the most. It keeps the ball still and allows you to concentrate on the correct mechanics over and over again. Muscle memory is best built using the tee.

2.Be patient: It is very important to swing at good pitches. It doesn't matter how talented you are, you must swing at strikes to be successful.

3. Take your "best" swing every time: Make sure to swing hard and follow through. Many players are not successful hitters because they cut their swing short and do not get the most speed and power out of their swing.

How can I stay in shape during the off-season?

Play, play, play: When I was a kid, I swam, played tennis, baseball, basketball, soccer, andwas basically outside all day long. Strength and athletic ability are developed at a young age by playing many different sports and being active all year long. When the sun is out, turn off the television, computer and video games!

Teixeira, who played for the Atlanta Braves for portions of the 2007 and 2008 seasons, was inducted into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame last fall. He helped Tech win 129 games between 1999 and 2001, including a 2000 season in which the Jackets won 50 games, captured the ACC Championship and hosted an NCAA Super Regional for the first time.

During his three years at Tech, Teixeira earned a long list of honors, including the 2000 National Player of the Year, 2000 ACC Player of the Year, 2000 consensus first-team All-American, 1999 National Freshman of the Year, 1999 ACC Rookie of the Year and 1999 second-team All-American. He was named to the All-ACC first team twice (1999, 2000).

Now in his 10th season in the majors, Teixerira is a .280 lifetime hitter, with 334 home runs and 1,089 RBIs.

How do you remember Teixeira as a Yellow Jacket?

How do you remember Teixeira as a Brave and view his MLB career overall?

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