The Yankees entered the spring with few questions about their lineup and two major ones at the back of the rotation. Those questions seem to have been answered for the moment, but it won't be a surprise to see general manager Brian Cashman monitoring the starting pitching market in the coming months. Either way, the offense should have enough firepower to carry some of the load, leaving the Yankees in a familiar spot as contenders.
1. LHP CC Sabathia
2. RHP Phil Hughes
3. RHP A.J. Burnett
4. RHP Ivan Nova
5. RHP Freddy Garcia
The top three spots in the rotation are set in stone, with Sabathia setting the tone for a third consecutive season. The Yankees are counting on Hughes to build on his 18-win season from a year ago, and with no innings limit to hold him back, he has an opportunity to continue developing into a big-time starter.
Burnett may be the key to the Yankees' season, as the 34-year-old is trying to bounce back from a dreadful 2010 campaign. Burnett was 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA last season, though he was 4-13 with a 6.48 ERA after June 1. Burnett has worked with new pitching coach Larry Rothschild on some mechanical changes, and the results this spring have been encouraging for the Yankees.
The final two spots in the rotation were the hot topic all spring, as Nova, Garcia, RHP Bartolo Colon and RHP Sergio Mitre fought it out for the right to start. Nova, who showed flashes last season during his limited time in the big leagues, had an impressive spring, while Garcia won the final spot despite being outpitched by Colon. Mitre was dealt to Milwaukee, and Colon was sent to the bullpen.
RHP Mariano Rivera (closer)
RHP Rafael Soriano
RHP Joba Chamberlain
RHP David Robertson
LHP Boone Logan
RHP Bartolo Colon
RHP Luis Ayala
Rivera returns for a 16th season as the Yankees' closer, and at age 41, there's no indication that he's slowing down whatsoever. Rivera converted 33 of 38 save opportunities last season, posting a 1.80 ERA -- his third straight season and seventh in the last eight with a sub-2.00 ERA
The Yankees added Soriano to their late-inning mix, signing last year's American League saves leader as a free agent to pitch the eighth in front of Rivera. Soriano provides protection in the event that Rivera needs a day off -- or even lands on the disabled list.
Chamberlain and Robertson will handle the middle innings, though their experience pitching in high-pressure situations later in games should make this a deeper group capable of handling any scenario. LHP Pedro Feliciano is the newcomer from the left side, though he'll open the season on the disabled list with a triceps injury, leaving Logan as the only experienced lefty in the bullpen.
1. LF Brett Gardner
2. SS Derek Jeter
3. 1B Mark Teixeira
4. 3B Alex Rodriguez
5. 2B Robinson Cano
6. RF Nick Swisher
7. DH Jorge Posada
8. CF Curtis Granderson
9. C Russell Martin
The lineup looks similar to the one that led the majors in runs scored a year ago, though Gardner is expected to vault from the No. 9 position into the leadoff spot. Gardner led the Yankees in on-base percentage last year despite dealing with a wrist injury in the second half, but his plus speed and selective eye make him an ideal leadoff candidate.
Jeter drops into the No. 2 spot, looking to rebound from the worst season of his career. The shortstop has tinkered with his stance, eliminating the stride from his swing in an attempt to see the ball longer and give him more plate coverage. Teixeira, Rodriguez and Cano return to the 3-4-5 spots, while the switch-hitting Swisher and Posada will follow, making it hard for teams to match up with their bullpens.
Granderson had a disappointing first season with the Yankees, but he came on at the end, hitting 14 home runs with 34 RBI in his final 48 games. Martin is the lone newcomer to the lineup, looking to resurrect his career after two subpar seasons.
INF Eduardo Nunez
INF Eric Chavez
OF Andruw Jones
C Gustavo Molina
Nunez had an outstanding spring, beating out INF Ramiro Pena for the job as the primary backup for 2B Robinson Cano and SS Derek Jeter. Chavez, who has battled injuries for the past four seasons, had a healthy spring and easily won the job as backup corner infielder. Chavez, a six-time Gold Glove third baseman, will back up 3B Mark Teixiera and 1B Alex Rodriguez.
Jones was signed to replace OF Marcus Thames, providing a powerful right-handed bat off the bench who can start at either corner outfield spot. Jones will see plenty of at-bats against lefty starters.
The backup catching spot was thrown wide open when Francisco Cervelli fractured his foot in early March. Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, two of the team's top prospects, failed to seize the opportunity, leaving the backup duties to Molina, who has seen limited action in the majors with four teams.
--LHP Pedro Feliciano (sore left triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He won't resume throwing before April 7.
--CF Curtis Granderson (strained right oblique muscle) was scratched from the lineup March 22. He might be forced to open the season on the disabled list.
--C Francisco Cervelli (fractured left foot) was injured March 2 when he fouled a ball of his foot. He went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22, and he is expected to miss the first month of the season.
--OF Colin Curtis (dislocated right shoulder) was injured making a diving catch March 6. He went on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to March 22, and he is out indefinitely.
--LHP Damaso Marte (left shoulder surgery in October 2010) went on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He is unlikely to return before the All-Star break.
--INF Reegie Corona (broken right elbow) went on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He is unlikely to return before midseason.
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