One of the distinctive sounds of spring, ball meeting glove, will fill the air shortly here as Yankees pitchers and catchers begin their first official workout of the spring and last year is, for good, put behind them.

"You can’t rely on what we did last year," Joe Girardi said yesterday. "You can pull from your experiences, yes, but it all starts over. Everyone is 0-0 going into April 4. We know what it took to do it last year, so we have to go about it, work hard like we did and we have to get that feeling back. That feeling last year was a very unified group, and I think that starts over as well, because there are new players here."

One thing Girardi hasn't had to deal with - yet anyway - this February as opposed to his first two as manager is any degree of controversy. Which is good, he said, though there were benefits to dealing with, say, the A-Rod circus last year as well.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"It was a very quiet winter, and that’s what you want as an organization," Girardi said. "The controversy, I think that brought us together last year. I think people rallied around each other and stood up for each other and the experience that we went through, I really believe it helped. It is nice to talk about baseball."