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Young, Tex to enjoy friendly rivalry in ALCS

Young, Tex to enjoy friendly rivalry in ALCS

ARLINGTON -- When the Rangers won the franchise's first playoff series with Tuesday's decisive Game 5 victory over the Rays, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira -- who came up with Texas -- didn't waste any time planning his return.

Teixeira texted former teammate and still-close friend Michael Young on Wednesday looking to get some southern hospitality.

"I said, 'I'll be at your house at 8 o'clock, make sure the guest room's ready for me,'" Teixeira said of the messages, to which Young responded in kind: "Not a chance."

"I told him I had no room," Young said, as he recounted the story on Thursday afternoon with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

Good-natured gamesmanship aside, the best friends are both thrilled for one another to play in the American League Championship Series, a dream Teixeira once thought he could do alongside with Young instead of against him.

"I was 23 when I came up," Teixeira said. "I thought we were going to win the World Series."

They didn't. Midway through 2007, Texas sent Teixeira to the Braves for a young haul of players -- including closer Neftali Feliz and shortstop Elvis Andrus, who have factored heavily into the success of this year's squad.

Young is one of the few players left from Teixeira's time in Texas, and he still keeps in close contact with Teixeira and fellow Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.

"I'm so happy for Michael," Teixeira said of Young, whom he spent 2001-07 playing with, both in the Rangers' farm system and starting in '03 at the big league level. "He deserves this opportunity; he's been through a lot with this organization. He's been such a great player through thick and thin."

Teixeira -- part of a New York squad that swept Minnesota in the AL Division Series -- admits he was "cheering quietly" while watching Young circle the bases after a critical homer in Game 2 against Tampa Bay.

"You don't want to ever root too hard for other teams, but I was cheering for him during that game," Teixeira said.

Now with the pair pitted against each other for a best-of-seven set with World Series hopes on the line that goodwill is gone.

"Love Tex," Young said. "Can't say enough great things about him, as a guy and as a player. I think we are excited for each other. But once the game starts, it's Rangers [against the] Yankees. Everything else kind of goes out the window."

Added Teixeira: "It's a friendly rivalry. I want to beat Michael as much as anybody, but at the same time, I'm going to pat him on his side when he gets a hit at first base and hopefully I'll do a couple drive-bys at third base by him.

"We'll have fun playing against each other, but you want to win."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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