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3 key Yankee storylines for the second half

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees runs

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees runs out a single in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. (July 10, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty

1. On the road again

The second-half schedule won’t be kind to the Yankees, who play 20 of 29 games in August on the road. Though September brings a more balanced home-away breakdown, they’ll face Boston, Toronto and Tampa 16 times that month (six on the road).  

2. Dealing for depth

Manager Joe Girardi praised his team’s ability to pick up the slack in the face of injuries, but the Yankees likely will look to solidify their bullpen before the July 31 trade deadline. With Boone Logan as the team’s only lefty specialist, former Yankee Randy Choate (0.96 ERA) might be a good option, along with Oakland’s Brian Fuentes. General manager Brian Cashman told Newsday he expects Rafael Soriano to be back in two weeks, but if the righthander has a setback there a quite a few relievers to be looked at, including San Diego’s Mike Adams (3-1, 1.32 ERA).

3. Jeter Watch

With his 3,000th hit finally out of the way, expect a more relaxed Derek Jeter to step to the plate in the second half. What remains to be seen is whether Mr. 3,000 will be the productive tablesetter he once was. The Yankees shortstop improved his batting average to .270, but has a paltry .353 slugging percentage. Girardi was adamant Jeter would remain his leadoff hitter against lefties and righthanders, but if the shortstop’s on-base percentage continues to hover around .330, can the Yankees justify keeping him in the No. 1 spot?


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