Ailing Yankees creak toward opening day

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As Derek Jeter dug in against Andy Pettitte, a familiar voice boomed from the top step of the dugout.

“Hundred bucks if you drill him!” former teammate David Wells hollered.

The way things are going lately for the New York Yankees, it’s a surprise some mishap didn’t occur. Instead, Jeter batted six times _ without incident _ during Pettitte’s simulated outing Friday at the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Fla.

Already missing Alex Rodriguez when they came to camp, the Yankees have been struck by a startling series of injuries since arriving.

They’ve been hit so hard, it’s no wonder their 3-10 record in exhibition play is the worst in the American League.

Curtis Granderson broke his arm in his first exhibition at-bat and is out until May. Fellow All-Star Mark Teixeira also is sidelined until May after straining his right wrist swinging a weighted bat during warmups for the World Baseball Classic.

“Those are two guys you can’t replace. I mean, let’s get serious,” outfielder Brett Gardner said.

Reliever David Robertson has a sore shoulder, the result of sleeping on it wrong. And the topper seemed to come when general manager Brian Cashman broke his leg while skydiving in Florida.

“That just confirms that I will never jump out of an airplane,” Jeter said. “It’s a freak thing, man. That’s scary. I have a scooter and a wheelchair if he wants to use it.”

The offer might stand for the rest of the AL East champs, too.

“It’s crazy,” ace CC Sabathia said. “It’s been a tough spring so far, but we’ll just have to try to hold the fort down until both (Teixeira) and Curt are able to get back on the field, get healthy. It’s going to be a tough, first couple weeks without them, but we’ll get through it.”

“I guess there’s a lot more stuff that can go wrong, but geez, Curt getting hurt, and Tex getting hurt swinging a bat in the cage. It’s just crazy.”

The 38-year-old Jeter still hasn’t played in a spring game while rehabbing from his broken ankle in the AL championship series sweep by Detroit. The 40-year-old Pettitte was hobbled for nearly three months last season due to a broken leg.

And the Yankees‘ longtime savior, 43-year-old closer Mariano Rivera, is expected to announce Saturday that this will be his last season. He missed most of last year after tearing up his knee.

Not a lot of wiggle room for manager Joe Girardi’s bunch as opening day approaches, on April 1 at Yankee Stadium against the revamped Boston Red Sox.

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