This entry was posted by on Thursday, 28 March, 2013 at

March 28, 2013

George M. Steinbrenner Field
Tampa, Florida

By: Rocky Julich

It’s been unusually chilly cold and windy during this March Spring season in the Grapefruit League.

Much like the weather, during Spring Training the New York Yankees experienced a season of cold players. The cold appeared in the Yankees line-ups.

Consider the use of six players at first base with left handed #55 Lyle Overbay with the “inside track” as the likely candidate to open the season in The Bronx. Overbay was signed on March 26th after being released by the Boston Red Sox. He appeared in three Spring Training games in a Yankees uniform. The Yankees released recently signed #54 Juan Rivera who covered first base for much of Spring Training. The reason may be that the last time Rivera played in a Yankees uniform was in the original Yankee Stadium outfield during the 2003 season.

Expect that after recovering from a torn right tendon sheath, #25 Gold Glove Mark Teixeira should take over at first base sometime after the month of May.

We watched five talented players commit 20 errors at third base and none had the number 13 of Rodriguez on the back of the uniform. At third base, for his first Opening Day in Pinstripes, #36 Kevin Youkilis of Red Sox fame is not a Rodriguez look-a-like. Will A-Rod, the real third baseman pivot at third after the All Star break?

Roaming between left field, centerfield and right field, twenty players took 94 turns at home plate with a total production of 107 hits, eleven homeruns and 47 RBIs. During the 2013 season, #56 Vernon Wells, #11 Brett Gardner and #31 Ichiro Suzuki will individually bring a lot of this and a lot of that to the fans of The Bronx. #14 Curtis Granderson, recovering from a fractured right forearm is expected during early May playing LF/CF?

Looking for a Yankees Catcher? #40 Francisco Cervelli and #19 Chris Stewart will be the men behind the mask.

DHing for the New York Yankees? No players lacking here. The bench will be kept warm.

New York Yankees Captain, shortstop Derek Jeter will be missed as he starts the season on the disabled list. Five players filled in at short, but #26 Eduardo Nunez has proven, as best he can, to be the replacement for the fan favorite Jeter. Derek will remain in the Minor Leagues for an extended Spring Training.

Only three players from the 2012 Opening Day line-up will step out of the dugout for the Yankees Home Opener on Monday, April 1st vs. the Boston Red Sox; #24 Robinson Cano, #11 Brett Gardner and #52 pitcher C.C. Sabathia.

Superstar second baseman Robinson Cano and MVP of the 2013 World Baseball Classic “is not feeling pressure to carry the Yankees”.

And so the time has come. It will be future Hall of Fame closing pitcher #42 Mariano Rivera’s final Opening Day. After 18 seasons in a New York Yankees uniform, Mariano is optimistic despite the injuries to the Yankees star players. Throughout his career, it is his talent and faith that has sustained him.

While #65 Phil Hughes will remain with the Minor League Club pitching during extended Spring Training, as he recovers from a bulging disk in his upper back, the Yankees team is returning to The Bronx with a strong pitching rotation and a healthy bullpen. Among the arms, #52 C.C. Sabathia, #46 Andy Pettitte, #18 Hiroki Kuroda, #41 David Phelps, #30 David Robertson, #62 Joba Chamberlain, #48 Boone Logan, #96 Vidal Nuno.

Vidal Nuno is the recipient of the 2013 James P. Dawson Award given annually to the outstanding Yankees Rookie in Spring Training. He is a left handed long reliever. His record: 1-1, 0.61 ERA with one save in seven appearances (2 starts). He permitted one run in 14-2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, walking four and striking out 13.

It will not be a walk in the park to October for the ever highly competitive Yankees in the American League East.

In conclusion, please remember, these are the ever confident New York Yankees and injury set-backs have never put a tweek in their winning bravado.

In the meantime, the following is the projected Opening Day line-up at Yankee Stadium:
CF Brett Gardner
RF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Robinson Cano
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH Travis Hafner
LF Vernon Wells
3B Jayson Nix
SS Eduardo Nunez
C Chris Stewart
P C.C. Sabathia

Do you like the chances of the playoffs with the transitional Yankees line-up? Perhaps it might be fun to use the player numbers in your local lottery.

Stay tuned.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional baseball Leagues

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