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The Yankees open up the season tonight at Fenway. Their line-up looks just a little bit different than the one from last year. Who knows how well this line-up will play out with the absence of World Series MVP Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. This year's line-up looks like this:
1. Derek Jeter (Shortstop) —Once again the Yankees' captain will lead off for the team, as their quest for Championship No. 28 begins tonight at Fenway Park. The only question surrounding the captain's spot will be if it will look the same on paper next year. Jeter's contact expires after this season, and everyone has started to wonder whether he will play shortstop again or move. Like most baseball people, I can't see Jeter wearing any other uniform except that of the Yankees.
One minor question is: Will Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" be blasting at Yankee Stadium for Jeter's first home at-bat?
2. Nick Johnson (Designated Hitter) —Well, his minor injury late in Spring Training almost put his 2010 Yankee debut in jeopardy. He is a very fragile player, and only time will tell if he will be injured and miss time from the Yankees line-up.
3. Mark Teixeira (First Base) —Many predict that this will be the season that Mark Teixeira blossoms as a Yankee. This could be a MVP year. Last April was slow for Teixeira in his first month as a Bronx Bomber. Tex again provides that great hitter before Alex Rodriguez. This gives the Yankees one of the most feared line-ups in the major leagues.
4. Alex Rodriguez (Third Base) —No controversy surrounded A-Rod entering Spring Training (The Odd Doctor Case didn't slow him down). The championship ring and the monkey off his back have him set up for another great season. The only thing that could slow him down could be the absence of Kate Hudson in the stands cheering for him.
5. Robinson Cano (Second Base) —This is the season for Robinson Cano to show how much he has matured over the years. Girardi has finally given him enough confidence and trust to have him bat fifth. Scouts have always called him a possible number two or five hitter. He has the tools to be great. His time has come.
6. Jorge Posada (Catcher) —Posada almost missed this season opener due to a stiff neck late in Spring Training. The Yankees took the right precautions, and it paid off. Francisco Cervelli might miss some time due to a hamstring injury and the Yankees really need Posada to come up big in the playing time department with some games, due to the lack of depth behind the plate. Posada might be bumped up or down in the line-up late in the season when Jesus Montero could be making his debut. Posada will serve as the perfect mentor.
7. Curtis Granderson (Center Field) —Granderson is entering his first season as a New York Yankee. He is the only new Yankee is the line-up. Johnson had a stint with the team earlier in his career. It will be interesting to see how the Bronx environment will play out for Granderson. The front office is looking for him to duplicate the same numbers he had in Detroit and make up for the loss of Johnny Damon.
8. Nick Swisher (Right Field) —The comedy club of the franchise is back and is looking to bring back that power and strength he provided in 2009.
9. Brett Gardner (Left Field) —Gardner is known more for his speed and defense than his bat. Look for him and Randy Winn to be interchangable in the line-up as the season goes on. Gardner is very flexible in the line-up and could play a big role in the outfield as he and Granderson will provide a lot of range.