When Mark Teixeira learned he would play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, he placed a call to Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. He hoped to marry a pair of pursuits: To represent his country well, and to extinguish his lengthy string of slow starts.

“Let’s not build up to Opening Day,” Teixeira said, when explaining his message to Long. “Let’s build up to the WBC. Let’s build up to the first of March.”

In anticipation, the world has strategically positioned itself.

Teixeira WBC NoMaas Yankees Shift