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The Yankees' new guys, Terry Collins' urgency and the wacky AL Central

Passover starts tonight, so we'll have limited activity here today and tomorrow. We'll pick up the intensity on Wednesday, with giveaway contests Wednesday and Thursday. 

But those giveaways, I assure you, will not feature any bread or other grain products.

--At last night's Yankees game, a highly entertaining affair, I wrote about how helpful the new guys have been. The Yankees are now 8.6 percent done with their season, and they're gonna need more new guys, surely, to get through this. But given how awful their offseason felt, I think a strong start was more important for them than it usually is (and it's usually pretty important, anyway).

Much of the eighth-inning chatter, at both the Stadium and in the Twittersphere, concerned the presence of Arthur Rhodes on the mound for Texas. Didn't Rangers manager Ron Washington know about Rhodes' history against the Yankees?

Rhodes entered the critical at-bat against Eric Chavez having held Chavez to seven hits in 25 at-bats, with one double, and a walk and eight strikeouts. Hardly domination, but not awful, either. Still, Rhodes appeared to be tiring there. A tough call.

As is usually the case when the Yankees play the Sunday night game on ESPN, with a first pitch after 8:00, I had to prepare an early column for Newsday's first edition. I wrote a somewhat similar column, addressing the offseason changes, but this one focused more on Jorge Posada's switch to DH. Let's just say that, if you skip this one, you won't have any deathbed regrets.

--Alex Rodriguez is hoping to be back Tuesday. 

--Brett Gardner returned to the lineup, hitting ninth against Texas righty Alexi Ogando, but he still looked pretty terrible. I'm surprised to read that Gardner is contemplating changing his approach regarding his patience at the plate. He always seemed comfortable hitting behind in the count, although the numbers from his breakout 2010 don't really illuminate that.

--Good piece by Jim Baumbach on Tim Belcher, who surrendered Derek Jeter's first career hit in 1995 and could witness the 3,000th. Belcher is the pitching coach for the Indians, who come to Yankee Stadium June 10-13. FWIW, Jeter is currrently on pace to get to 3,000 closer to the middle of the season, in late June or early July. But I don't think that's worth much.

--So what did you think of Terry Collins' managing yesterday? I didn't have a problem with him going to Chris Capuano and R.A. Dickey for bullpen outs, given how cooked and bad the Mets' bullpen is. Obviously, this isn't something that Collins should turn into a habit, but as a one-time only thing, I thought it worked all right.

Maybe it's good to get the players' attention, let them know that they have to start winning some games before all is lost. 

--Funny story about all of the items Dillon Gee had to borrow for his start yesterday, after his luggage didn't make it from Providence to Atlanta.

--Monday is always a good day to look over the standings, and there's little disputing where the biggest surprises lay so far. How about that AL Central? Are either the Indians or the Royals for real? 

In a vacuum, no. But the status of the division's three supposed contending teams provides hope to the Midwestern dreamers out there. The White Sox's bullpen is a train wreck, so is the Twins' and the Tigers can't seem to put together consistent, all-around efforts?

By the end of the season, however, I'd say it's quite likely that Cleveland and Kansas City will be back at the bottom of the division.

--Have a great day.

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