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Ailing Yankees creak toward opening day
Question of the Day
“A lot of times, you look at injuries, you never want to see them. But I’ll take an injury now going into the season rather than later in the season,” newcomer Kevin Youkilis said.
“The good thing is, you don’t win or lose a season in April. You win or lose seasons in September. For me personally, there’s been teams that are in first place every year in April and a lot of times they never make it all the way through,” he said.
Normally one of baseball’s biggest offseason players, the Yankees had a real quiet winter while trying to keep their payroll at about $200 million. Rather, they watched their roster take quite a few hits.
Rafael Soriano, who posted 42 saves while filling in for Rivera, signed with Washington. Postseason star Raul Ibanez left, as did starting catcher Russell Martin, popular right fielder Nick Swisher and valuable Eric Chavez.
For a team that often relies on power, that’s quite an outage when coupled with the injuries to Rodriguez, Granderson and Teixeira. Put it this way: Of the 10 players who reached double-digits in home runs last season, only Robinson Cano and Jeter will be on the opening-day roster.
“There’s many ways of scoring runs,” outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, still fleet at 39, said through a translator. “Those home runs might be less this year. You have to become a team that can score in many different ways.”
A big step forward would be a complete recovery by Jeter. The surgeon who repaired his ankle gave the star shortstop full clearance this week to resume all activity.
“It’s always reassuring when someone says that something is not broken anymore. So, it’s just getting through the normal aches and pains that come around it,” Jeter said.
AP freelance writer Mark Didtler contributed to this report.
By Michael P. Orsi
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