During the 2009 season, the New York Yankees made it a habit to win often, win big, and win in dramatic fashion. The Yankees accumulated 15 walk-off victories including 2 during the postseason against the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim en route to their 27 World Series Championship. The team had a short off-season to soak it all in until they reunited in Spring Training, though not all could return. Even all-star and MVP performances from Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui who signed the 2009 Series with a double-steal and 6-RBI performance in games 4 and 6 respectively was not enough to retain the two very capable athletes. Though arguably the two biggest, they were not the only subtractions between the 2009 and now 2010 clubs. General Manager Brian Cashman made it clear that the organization was not afraid to change their formula of how to win a title as evidence by the multiple additions and subtractions executed during the off-season.
The 2010 Yankees have new faces in their outfield as well as their pitching staff but even a radically different club couldn't prevent them from carrying over the same success that was their signature during 2009. After pulling their A-team lineup from their first game of the Spring Training season on March 3rd against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Yankees went on to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning including a solo home-run from up and coming "super utility man" Ramiro Pena. After squandering the lead in the top half of the 7th, the 27-time Champions led off the bottom 9th inning with a hit and ended with a 3-run blast to right field by Colin Curtis to win 6-3 and begin the Grapefruit League campaign 1-0 for the Yankees.
Today, March 4th, the Yankees welcome the Philadelphia Phillies to George M. Steinbrenner field in Tampa, FL to play what some call a World Series rematch between dueling aces, C.C. Sabathia against the new Philly ace, Doc. Roy Halladay. With Opening Day of the 2010 season still a month away, neither team is expected to field their stars at full strength through the entire match. New York and Philladelphia play in different leagues during the regular season and only have opportunities to meet during interleague play and, of course, during the World Series. This gives both teams the opportunities to practice different strategies they otherwise wouldn't showcase in Spring against teams they often see later in the regular season. Pitching dominates this experimental period as rotations work on perfecting their arsenal while also attempting to add new weapons as well as is the case with Yankees #2 starter, A.J. Burnett. Burnett, who had a rollercoaster season last year, finished with a 13-9 record and 4.04 ERA and insists on adding a changeup pitch to is armory as is go-to strike out pitch. That being said, you can be certain teams have scouts on the prowl gathering information about each key player on every team this Spring which promises to continue Major League Baseball's tradition of fielding competative, all-star talent for its viewship all saeson.