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Meet the champs: Bios of the players

Derek Jeter hugs Alex Rodriguez (13) after the

Derek Jeter hugs Alex Rodriguez (13) after the Yankees won the 2009 World Series. (November 4, 2009) Photo Credit: MCT

Jorge Posada - Catcher
At 38 years old, Posada is still among the top offensive catchers in the majors, defying conventional baseball wisdom. Had 22 home runs in 383 at-bats during the regular season. Fiery and outspoken, Posada wasn’t happy he was on the bench every time A.J. Burnett pitched in postseason. Hit go-ahead home run in ALDS clinching Game 3 victory over Twins.

Jose Molina - Catcher
His regular season was hampered by injuries and his offensive contributions were next to nothing, but the connection with emotional erratic pitcher A.J. Burnett earned him his World Series ring. Opponents hit .221 off Burnett when Molina caught him, compared to .270 when Posada was catching.

Mark Teixeira - First base
Playoffs: .167 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Outstanding first season with the Yankees ended on a bad personal note, as Teixeira struggled in the postseason. Blamed postseason woes on erratic schedule, with 15 games in 31 days. On heels of signing $180 million contract, Teixeira hit 39 home runs in regular season, with a .993 OPS after May 12. Led American League with 122 RBIs.

Robinson Cano - Second base
Enjoyed a bounce-back year after a disappointing 2008 season. His 75 extra-base hits (48 doubles, 2 triples and 25 home runs) ranked fifth in American League and most among all second basemen in the majors. But he slumped in the postseason, especially in the World Series, with just three hits in 22 at-bats (.136).

Derek Jeter - Short stop
Put together one of his best all-around seasons. Hit .334 with a .406 on-base percentage. Stole 30 bases in 35 attempts. Most notably, however, improved his defensive range, a considerable achievement considering he’s 35 years old and was widely considered to be on decline. Committed just eight errors, his lowest total of his 14-year career.

Alex Rodriguez - Third base
Hmmm, where should we start? Exposed as a past steroid user at the start of spring training, and he admitted to it. Then needed hip surgery and worried his career was in jeopardy. Came back early, had a decent regular season, then broke out bigtime in postseason. After so many October failures, Rodriguez had so many big hits, including go-ahead two-out double in ninth inning of World Series Game 4.

Ramiro Pena - Infielder
Utility infielder impressed the Yankees with his slick hands and sure fielding during brief regular-season stint. Added to World Series before Game 5 to replace an injured Melky Cabrera. Did not appear in a game.

Hideki Matsui - Designated hitter
If Matsui’s seven-year Yankees career is over, as many believe is the case, he certainly went out in style. After hitting a grand slam in his Yankees debut on Opening Day 2003, Matsui tied a World Series record by driving in six runs in World Series Game 6 and was named MVP. That’s an impressive feat considering he started only three of the six games because his bad knees don’t let him play the field.

Johnny Damon - Leftfielder
His one-man double-steal with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 4 – Damon’s Dash – is a play that will surely go down in World Series history. After a disappointing first round in which he went 1-for-12, he batted .327 (17-for-52) with three doubles, two homers and nine RBIs in the ALCS and World Series. Compiled 63 extra-base hits during regular season.

Melky Cabrera - Centerfielder
After struggling so much in 2008 that he was demoted to the minors in August, Cabrera rebounded by posting career highs in doubles (28) and home runs (13) even though he began the season on the bench. Regained the starting centerfield job midseason and had a knack for being clutch with three walk-off hits.

Brett Gardner - Outfielder
Best known for his speed, Gardner started the season as the centerfielder, but couldn’t hit enough to hold it. He broke his thumb on July 25 and never regained regular playing time. Started the final two World Series games, however, because Melky Cabrera went down with a strained left hamstring.

Nick Swisher - Rightfielder
Acquired in an off-season trade with the White Sox, Swisher came just as advertised: a home-run hitter who walks, strikes out and likes to be the center of attention. Easy to forget he began the year on the bench, behind Xavier Nady in rightfield. But Nady got hurt and Swisher had a productive year with 29 home runs and a .371 on-base percentage.

Jerry Hairston -- Infielder / Outfielder
Hairston received quite a gift when the Yankees acquired him at the trade deadline from the Reds. The 13-year major-league vet never played in the postseason before this season. He received The Pie in ALCS Game 2 after leading off the 11th with a single and scoring from second on Maicer Izturis’ throwing error.

Eric Hinske -- Infielder / Outfielder
How’s this for a trivia question: Only three people alive today have won World Series rings as players with the Yankees and Red Sox. The answer: Johnny Damon, Ramiro Mendoza and Eric Hinske. (Hinske had one plate appearance in the World Series, walking and scoring a run in the ninth inning of Game 5.)

CC Sabathia -- Starting pitcher
The Yankees gave him $161 million to be their ace, and he delivered. The hefty lefty won 19 games in the regular season and his 230 innings were the most by a Yankees pitcher since Andy Pettitte logged 240 1/3 innings in 1997. Threw on short rest twice in the postseason as he went 3-1 and a 1.98 ERA in five starts.

A.J. Burnett -- Starting pitcher
The biggest question hovering over Burnett coming into the year was whether he could stay healthy, and he answered that by throwing 207 innings in the regular season and another 27 1/3 innings in the postseason. He had a chance to close out the Phillies in Game 5 but recorded only six outs, saying afterward, “I feel like I let 25 guys down. I let a city down.”

Andy Pettitte -- Starting pitcher
Pettitte earned the win in the clinching game for all three postseason rounds. With his four playoff victories this year, he now has 17, more than anyone else in baseball history. Pettitte signed a one-year deal before the year because he wanted to play at the new stadium. He will flirt with retirement once again.

Chad Gaudin
-- Starting / Relief pitcher
No pitcher who didn’t log a single inning in the World Series was talked about more than Gaudin, and that’s because his job was simple: be ready as a starting pitcher on standby. The Yankees went with three starters, all on short rest beginning with Game 4, but Gaudin was their safety net. Gaudin was 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA in 42 innings for the Yankees this season.

Joba Chamberlain -- Starting / Relief pitcher
Chamberlain’s first full season as a starter was uneven, at best. He went 9-6 with a 4.75 ERA, but the number the Yankees care most about is 163 1/3, the total innings he logged. Reaching that number allows them to let him pitch with no restrictions next year. His foray to the bullpen in the postseason was just that.

Phil Hughes -- Starting / Relief pitcher
The Yankees moved him to the bullpen in May as a way to keep him in the majors for a few weeks, and the young righthander ran with it. As Mariano Rivera’s setup man, he had a .0857 WHIP and 1.40 ERA in 51 1/3 innings. But he withered in the playoffs, allowing six runs and 11 hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings.

Mariano Rivera -- Closer
Rivera said during the World Series celebration that he wants to pitch five more years, and there’s certainly few signs he’s slowing down. After struggling with his velocity early in the year, Rivera recovered to post another stellar year. And it’s definitely no surprise he did his best work in the postseason, allowing just one run in 16 innings.

Damaso Marte -- Relief pitcher
He went from being a non-factor in the regular season to one of Joe Girardi’s trusted relievers in the postseason. A shocking turnaround considering Marte had a 9.45 ERA in 13 1/3 innings in the regular season and was out from May 3 until August 21 with a shoulder injury. In the playoffs he allowed no runs and two hits in four innings.

Phil Coke -- Relief pitcher
Spent the season as the Yankees’ lefthanded specialist, holding lefthanded hitters to a .195 average and .218 on-base percentage. But was unseated by Damaso Marte in the playoffs. Gave up home runs in lefthanded hitters Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez in one inning in Game 5.

David Robertson -- Relief pitcher
Used primarily in the middle innings, Robertson posted a 3.30 ERA in 43 2/3 innings with 63 strikeouts and impressed the Yankees with his fastball. Could be in line for an expanded role next season.

Alfredo Aceves -- Relief pitcher
Nicknamed Ace by his manager and teammates, he was the Yankees’ staff-saver during the regular season, willing to enter a game at any moment and capable of giving them length. Compiled 84 innings in 43 appearances – all but one was out of the bullpen – and finished with a 10-1 record.

Brian Bruney -- Relief pitcher
Initially billed as the eighth-inning guy, Bruney was such a disappointment he was left off the postseason roster until the World Series, when the Yankees took him as insurance for games in a NL park. Bruney’s season will be best remembered for the near-fight he had with the Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez in June.

Joe Girardi -- Manager
A very eventful beginning to Girardi’s managing career, all things considered. Won NL manager of the year in Florida in 2006 but was fired because of a dispute with the owner. Then his first year with the Yankees in 2008 they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Now, he’s managed them to their first World Series title since 2000.

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