It's too early in Spring Training to presume anything yet, but it's no secret that the New York Yankees are hosting some very important pitching auditions down in Tampa, Florida.
The fourth and fifth spots, basically the back-end of the starting rotation, are empty and look to remain so right up until Opening Day on March 31st.
The Yankee bats still remain strong and easily one of the most lethal line-ups in baseball.
The batting order doesn’t have any holes to fill, but once the regular season gets underway, some tweaking here or there is possible. My guess is that Skipper Joe Girardi’s Opening Day line-up card will look very familiar to Yankees fans, as it will be almost identical to 2010.
What could potentially change?
Swapping Swisher and Granderson in the order last season when an opposing lefty was up wasn't an uncommon occurrence.
Granderson has struggled against Southpaws over his entire career, but that demon seemed to fade over the last six weeks of 2010—but Girardi still wasn’t completely convinced.
In his first Spring Training game, Granderson hit an opposite field bomb, which must cement Girardi’s confidence level in keeping Grandy in the two-hole for good.
Fact is, switch-hitting Swisher is more productive in the middle-bottom of the order than at the top. Granderson’s speed and continued improvement against Southpaws makes him perfect for the slot behind the Captain.
As for the Captain maintaining the leadoff spot—it's already a given. No one should even acknowledge the drama over whether Derek Jeter is capable of being productive in the role.
It's outlandish that Jeter’s livelihood is getting chucked under a pile of dirt so rapidly. It's not like he's just some regular player who’s been in a steady decline.
He had one off-year after his 2009 career-best, legit MVP campaign—the least Yankees fans can do is give the man some support for all he's done here.
The Jeter issue is the media’s fault. They no longer have Brett Favre’s every word to hang onto—and that's exactly why the Jeter attack has been in full swing. He draws in viewers.
Keep asking yourself why ESPN's not dwelling on the current reigning Champion Giants, whose biggest signing was getting Miguel Tejada to be their full-time shortstop. Tejada is 36-years-old and not in the same shape as Jeter. While their batting stats are similar, don’t forget Tejada had some help along the way.
Jeter is still valuable and I firmly believe the Captain will be great in 2011.
Aside from that, the only other minor details is who will be catching at the start of the season.
I've penciled all three in for now. Supposedly only two will make the cut, but teams have carried three catchers before and it wouldn't surprise me if Jesus Montero, Francisco Cervelli and Russell Martin were all in the Bronx come Opening Day.
Cano will start right where he finished in 2010 behind A-rod, batting fifth. Think about how stupid it would be to move Cano’s bat out of such a productive place for it.
There are so many exhibitions games left to play, so right now Yankees fans should just pray that no one gets hurt.
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