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Ring ceremony motivating to new Yankees

The words initially were said in jest, but more serious than any of them let on.

Curtis Granderson, Marcus Thames and Randy Winn sat together in the food room of the Yankees' clubhouse, joking about the emptiness they felt after watching their new teammates receive World Series rings.

"We were talking like, 'Man, don't you wish you were walking home with one of those today?' as we saw CC Sabathia's son holding the ring box as if it was a toy, just swinging it around," said Granderson, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI in yesterday's 7-5 win over the Angels.

"Even though we all shook our heads 'yeah' and laughed, there was seriousness behind it."

For the new Yankees - and even the familiar faces, like Nick Johnson and Javier Vazquez - yesterday's ceremony served as extra motivation for the future.

"I remember when I got mine - and it's a step behind that. It's a second-place ring. I need a first-place one and I'm sure that's what everyone else wants, too," Granderson said.

He and Thames, teammates together in Detroit for five seasons, had helped the Tigers defeat the Yankees in the 2006 ALDS en route to the World Series. But their quest for a championship fell short against St. Louis.

Now they both hope this will be the year they get the hardware.

"Of course you want to be out there, receiving one too, but that's not the case. But I'm happy for the guys, they deserve it, they played well," Thames said before the game. "And hopefully I can be doing the same thing next year."

Unlike the rest of the Yankees, Winn, however, has never played in a postseason game. But Granderson believes the Yankees' 27 titles and the work ethic of their players - particularly the "Core Four" of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera - inevitably will rub off on the newbies.

"It's great to watch what they've been able to accomplish in front of the fans that are the 26th man, as you call it. They were a big part of the reason they were able to be victorious," Granderson said.

"And to bring out the greats - having Yogi Berra and Bernie Williams out there - I think that's an amazing thing. . . . It was just a great day to get a chance to be a part of it and to be on the Yankees' dugout side to watch it."

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