Ah, the crack of the wood. Wait, that’s your snow shovel breaking in two from overuse.
Spring training is here and the Yankees have another promising season in store. We think.
Here's a look at the probable lineup:
C Russell Martin: Strange not to write Jorge Posada. This assumes that Martin, coming off two surgeries, is durable enough to hold the starting job. Jesus Montero is nipping.
1B Mark Teixeira: Beware the ides of March, April and maybe even May but Teixeira will put up his usual big numbers. He had 33 homers and 108 runs batted in, but his .256 average didn’t cut it. If he could only start his hot streaks earlier, he might put together that MVP season.
2B Robinson Cano: He has a tough act to follow—his own. A .319 batting average with 29 homers and 109 RBIs leaves little room for improvement. But why not?
3B Alex Rodriguez: Had 30 homers and 125 runs batted in. Yet, most would regard that as an offseason for A-Rod, who hit .270. Seems to perform better when happy in his private life, which seems ultra happy with actress Cameron Diaz.
SS Derek Jeter: Has a new contract, will reach 3,000 hits this summer but still needs to fend off age questions by regaining his stroke. Struggled to reach .270.They call his Florida mansion St.Jetersburg.
LF Brett Gardner: Should spend spring learning how to bunt so his speed can be a bigger asset. He stole 47 bases, could approach 60 with a better average (.277). Good defensive player.
CF Curtis Granderson: A hot second half to finish with 24 homers, but still should hit for a higher average than .247. Showing he’s vulnerable could open door for more appearances by Andrew Jones.
RF Nick Swisher: Raised his average (.288) and had nice power numbers (29 homers, 89 RBIs) but disappeared in post season.Wonder if he's peaked.
DH Jorge Posada: He can no longer catch, can he still hit? Jones could take away some--or many--at-bats.
CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18): First 20-win season, but not so automatic when it wasn't the Orioles. Disappointing start in key game against Tampa Bay that could have turned division squarely over to the Yankees in stretch drive. Still the unquestioned ace.
Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19): Made the All-Star team but was anything but a star in the second half. He’s in that learning how to pitch with great stuff phase and perhaps new pitching coach Larry Rothschild will harness it back to star caliber.
A.J. Burnett (10-15, 5.26): This project of a pitcher will determine if Rothschild is indeed a miracle worker.
Ivan Nova (1-2, 4.50): The best four-inning starter around. He has to add two or three more quality innings onto his starts before anyone gets too excited.
The fifth starter is anybody’s guess. We like Freddie Garcia to beat out Sergio Mitre, Bartolo Colon, etc.
The eighth to ninth inning Soriano-to-Mariano duo might be the best in baseball. Everyone else appears solid but Joba Chamberlain still must prove he can fill some kind of role.That's assuming he doesn't go in a trade for a starter.