For the first time in years, the New York Yankees enter a season not knowing exactly what they are going to get. You can say no one knows what they will get from a year-to-year basis in baseball, but this franchise has always defied normal logic.
When you think they are too old to do something, they put together a postseason run like they had in 2009 and win a World Series. When they have to rely on young players to win games, Robinson Cano gets called up and turns into one of the best players in baseball.
This season, however, appears to be the end of the line for the Yankees atop the American League East. Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson will all miss time at the start of the season, with A-Rod likely out until at least the All-Star break.
Derek Jeter is coming back from a broken ankle suffered in the American League Championship Series. Mariano Rivera, who announced he will retire at season's end, is coming back from a torn ACL after throwing just 8.1 innings in 2012.
All of this has made for a lot of fascinating discussion around what the Yankees will be in 2013, if they can compete with the other four teams in the American League East, and how much worse things can possibly get.
But it is still spring training. Teixeira and Granderson will return eventually. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are still at the top of the rotation. The other teams will have to deal with injuries at some point, the Yankees' are just compounded because they happened so close to each other.
Here is an in-depth look at the Yankees' plans for spring training, including a look at the projected roster, starting lineup and results from each day's spring action leading up to the start of the regular season.
OF Curtis Granderson (broken arm) is expected to be out until May (via MLB.com)
1B Mark Teixeira (strained wrist) is expected to be out until May (via MLB.com)
|CC Sabathia, LHP||SP|
|Hiroki Kuroda, RHP||SP|
|Andy Pettitte, LHP||SP|
|Phil Hughes, RHP||SP|
|Ivan Nova, RHP||SP|
|Clay Rapada, LHP||RP|
|Joba Chamberlain, RHP||RP|
|David Aardsma, RHP||RP|
|Boone Logan, LHP||RP|
|David Phelps, RHP||RP|
|David Robertson, RHP||RP|
|Mariano Rivera, RHP||CP|
|1. Derek Jeter, SS|
|2. Ichiro Suzuki, RF|
|3. Robinson Cano, 2B|
|4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B|
|5. Travis Hafner, DH|
|6. Brett Gardner, CF|
|7. Juan Rivera, 1B|
|8. Melky Mesa, LF|
|9. Francisco Cervelli, C|
|No. 1: CC Sabathia, LHP|
|No. 2: Hiroki Kuroda, RHP|
|No. 3: Andy Pettitte, LHP|
|No. 4: Phil Hughes, RHP|
|No. 5: Ivan Nova, RHP|
Toronto Blue Jays defeat New York Yankees 17-5
WP: Josh Johnson
LP: Jose Ramirez
Yankees Player of the Game: 3B Kevin Youkilis
2-for-3. 3B, HR, RBI 2 Runs, K
For the second time this week Youkilis showed off his power stroke, hitting his second home run of the spring and adding a triple just for good measure.
That was about the only good thing for the Yankees, who saw starting pitcher Jose Ramirez give up six runs on two hits and four walks in just one-third innings of work. The bullpen wasn't much better, giving up 11 more runs to the Blue Jays, with eight of those coming from Adam Warren.
What's on deck?
The Yankees go back home on Friday for a showdown with the Miami Marlins. CC Sabathia will start for the Bronx Bombers against John Maine.
New York Yankees defeat Philadelphia Phillies 6-2
WP: Andy Pettitte
LP: Cliff Lee
Yankees Player of the Game: RF Ben Francisco
1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI, K
Francisco made a strong first impression, hitting a two-run double in the Yankees' 6-2 victory over Philadelphia. He may not start the season with the team, but Francisco will likely be near the top of candidates who gets called up if/when a need arises.
What's on deck?
The Yankees will get back to American League East action on Thursday, when they travel to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium to take on the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. ET. Adam Warren starts for the Pinstripes against newly-acquired Josh Johnson.
New York Yankees defeat Tampa Bay Rays 3-1
WP: Brett Marshall
LP: Dane De La Rosa
S: Matt Tracy
Yankees Player of the Game: SP Ivan Nova
4 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
The Yankees have depth in the starting rotation, with Nova bringing up the back of the group. He has looked strong so far this spring, giving up just one earned run in nine innings of work including the four shutout innings he threw on Tuesday.
Even more impressive for Nova has been the control he has displayed with his pitches, walking just one hitter in nine innings. He has had success in his career before, but disappointed in 2012 with a 5.02 ERA. '
Considering how reliant the Yankees will be on their pitching this season, Nova has to be better than he was last season.
What's on deck?
The Yankees will go back home to take on the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Andy Pettitte will get the start opposite Cliff Lee.
New York Yankees defeat St. Louis Cardinals 4-0
WP: Hiroki Kuroda
LP: Lance Lynn
Yankees Player(s) of the Game: 3B Kevin Youkilis and SP Hiroki Kuroda
Youkilis: 1-for-2, HR, 2 RBI, 1 Run Scored, 1 K
Kuroda: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K
Normally we like to adhere to a strict code when we are handing out a Player of the Game honor, but Youkilis and Kuroda both played well enough to deserve the honor.
Youkilis provided the spark on offense that the Yankees would need today, hitting a two-run home run in bottom of the fourth inning. He needed a big hit today, as he is hitting just .154 on the spring. His role in this offense will be critical while Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson are out.
Kuroda kept doing what he has done virtually all spring. Against a Cardinals lineup that did feature several regulars, including Matt Carpenter, David Freese and Jon Jay, Kuroda was masterful striking out six in just four innings.
This spring, Kuroda has a 1.59 ERA. He and CC Sabathia are going to have to be dynamite at the top of the rotation to make up for the offense that the Yankees have lost in the offseason and due to injuries.
What's on deck?
The Yankees will travel to the Charlotte Sports Park to take on division rival Tampa Bay on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. ET. No. 5 starter Ivan Nova will get the start for the Pinstripes against Alex Cobb.
New York Yankees 3, Toronto Blue Jays 0
WP: David Phelps
LP: Brett Cecil
S: Vidal Nuno
Yankees Player of the Game: 1B Juan Rivera (3-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI)
The choice was either for Rivera or David Phelps as Sunday's shining star for the Yankees. Phelps presented a strong case, throwing five shutout innings and allowing just three hits, one walk and striking out three.
But Rivera gets the edge because he supplied all of the offense and had a very good day at the plate. He collected three hits, including a three-run double in the top of the fifth inning that gave the Yankees all the offense they would need.
Considering the hole that the Yankees have at first base right now, any glimmer of hope they can derive from Rivera in spring training will ease the pain of losing Teixeira at the start of the regular season.
Focusing a lot on spring stats can get you in trouble, but it is better to have some success than none at all. The Yankees aren't under any illusions about what Rivera can do. As long as he doesn't embarrass himself, he will be exactly what the team needs.
What's on deck?
The Yankees will play host to the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday at George Steinbrenner Field. Pitching matchups for the game have yet to be announced.