--LF Brett Gardner will assume the leadoff spot in the opener and likely stay there against right-handed pitchers all season, while SS Derek Jeter will bat first against lefties. "(Gardner's) ability to disrupt defenses, the pressure he puts on a pitching staff and his ability to score runs, we thought it's a pretty good fit," manager Joe Girardi said. "We talked about Jeet leading off against lefties, and our lineup will change a little bit, but we'll have consistency for right-handers and left-handers."
--RHP Luis Ayala, who came to camp as a non-roster player, snagged the final spot in the Yankees bullpen, beating out LHP Steve Garrison because of a strong spring. "From his first game, we saw his velocity back, the sink on his fastball, his ability to get groundballs," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think whenever guys come back from injury, you worry can they go back to back or how do they bounce back, but everything went well. From Day 1, we thought he was a guy who could help us this year, and it just happens to be now." There was a spot open in the bullpen because LHP Pedro Feliciano is starting the year on the disabled list. Without Garrison, Boone Logan is the only left-handed reliever.
--RHP A.J. Burnett is suffering from a head cold, and it is unclear whether that will affect his scheduled start Saturday. "I think it's probably too early to predict that," manager Joe Girardi said. "He is under the weather, but you would think by Saturday that hopefully most of it would run its course, but we won't know."
--RHP Phil Hughes occupies the locker that used to belong to LHP Andy Pettitte, the veteran who retired over the winter. Hughes said he believed it held some symbolism, though there would've been more had it been at the old Yankee Stadium. "Obviously, he's going to be missed," Hughes said.
--CF Curtis Granderson tested his injured side muscle in a minor league game Wednesday, and the results were positive. He will be in the opening-day lineup against the Tigers on Thursday, according to manager Joe Girardi.
--OF Chris Dickerson, acquired from Milwaukee in exchange for RHP Sergio Mitre last week, was optioned to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Dickerson suffered a sore left hamstring March 26 during his first spring game with the Yankees, and he was slowed through the final days of spring training.
BY THE NUMBERS
.314 -- Derek Jeter's career average while batting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. As a leadoff hitter, Jeter has a career .313 mark.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"No chance. Maybe if you put an extra half-season." -- 2B Robinson Cano, after hearing that hitting coach Kevin Long said he could see Cano hitting 40 home runs this season.
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.