Yankees 2011: 3 things we like, dislike

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, left, watches

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, left, watches Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano throw live batting practice on a back field before the Yankees spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Friday, March 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) (Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

THINGS WE LIKE

1. THE BULLPEN

Hard not to like what on paper one scout said this spring was "without question" the game's best unit. The Rafael Soriano/Mariano Rivera tandem has the look of a monster.

2. A GREEN-LIGHTED A-ROD

Though he turns 36 in July, Rodriguez, who hammered the ball all spring, said he enters this season feeling far better physically than he has since 2008. Huge bounce-back year could be in the offing.

3. CC LEADING BY EXAMPLE

Have to like after going 21-7, 3.18 and nearly winning the Cy Young, Sabathia decided to take the preventative step to lose 25 pounds. With Andy Pettitte's retirement, Sabathia is now the unquestioned leader of the rotation, a role he takes seriously.

 

THINGS WE DON'T LIKE

1. AGE

Father Time is undefeated and will eventually exact his toll, with either injury or performance decline or a combination of both, on Alex Rodriguez (35), Derek Jeter (36) and Mariano Rivera (41). The Yankees can survive a down year from one but probably not from two and certainly not from all three.

2. THE ROTATION

While everyone pitched reasonably well this spring and there looks to be potential for some good things from Ivan Nova, the reality is there's still only one pitcher you'd consider a "for sure" in the rotation, and that's CC Sabathia.

3. CATCH THIS

The Yankees are making an awful lot of assumptions about Russell Martin, coming off two subpar seasons, and his ability to stay healthy. Jesus Montero has made huge strides and opposing team's scouts still question whether defensively he's major-league ready.

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