NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Happy pitchers and catchers day!
Here are five things to know about the New York Yankees as they start spring training camp:
NEW KIDS IN TOWN: After missing the playoffs for the second time in 19 years, the Yankees added pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, catcher Brian McCann and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran for a total commitment of $438 million. Add in Tanaka’s $20 million fee to his Japanese club, agreements to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda and Brendan Ryan, and to add Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson and Matt Thornton, and the Yankees’ offseason spending on free agents totaled $471 million. The approach was similar to the Yankees’ response after missing the playoffs in 2008: They spent $423.5 million on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, then won their 27th World Series title. Tanaka replaces Andy Pettitte in the starting rotation, while McCann takes over a catcher’s spot largely filled by Chris Stewart after Francisco Cervelli’s right hand was broken by a foul tip on April 26. Ellsbury and Beltran slot into outfield spots split mostly among Curtis Granderson, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells last year, with Soriano and Suzuki remaining for now to seek at-bats in backup and designated hitter roles.
THEY’RE BACK (BUT CAN THEY STAY?): Derek Jeter, who turns 40 on June 26 and announced Wednesday this will be his last season, and Mark Teixeira, who turns 34 on April 11, both are coming off major injuries that sidelined them for most of last year. The Yankees used a team-record 56 players last season, when they put 21 players on the disabled list in 28 stints that totaled 1,493 days lost, according to STATS. In the most frustrating season of his career, Jeter hit .190 (12 for 63) with one homer and seven RBIs, playing 13 games at shortstop and four at designated hitter. He broke his left ankle Oct. 13, 2012, during the AL championship series opener against Detroit and was limited to five spring training games last year. He stayed behind when the team broke camp for rehabilitation at New York’s minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., and broke the ankle again in April. Jeter missed the first 91 games of the season, then felt pain his right quadriceps when he returned July 11. He went back on the DL, returned July 28 for three games, then strained his right calf. Back in the lineup on Aug. 26, he played through Sept. 7, when he left for a pinch-runner after singling against Boston. While scans of the left ankle were negative, the Yankees said four days later his season was over. Teixeira missed the first 53 games because of a torn sheath in his right wrist sustained while with the U.S. team at the World Baseball Classic. He returned May 31, hit .151 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 53 at-bats, then had surgery July 2.
THE MISSING MAN: Alex Rodriguez didn’t play for the Yankees until Aug. 5 last year following hip surgery, and he rejoined the team the same day baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced a 211-game suspension for violations of the sport’s drug agreement and labor contract. Following a contentious grievance hearing, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz reduced the penalty to 162 games plus the 2014 postseason. After suing MLB and the players’ association in an effort to overturn the discipline, Rodriguez withdrew the action on Feb. 7 and accepted the penalty.
THE REPLACEMENTS: All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano is gone, fleeing the Bronx for a $240 million, 10-year contract with Seattle and saying he felt disrespected by the Yankees’ $175 million, seven-year offer. Cano led New York last season in batting average (.314), homers (27) and RBIs (107), providing the only consistent offense from its infield. Led by Cano, Yankees second basemen topped the majors with 113 RBIs, according to STATS. Ryan is the leading candidate to take over at second base and Johnson at third. With Jeter and A-Rod largely absent, the Yankees had just 46 RBIs from shortstops last year, according to STATS (26th in majors) and 52 from third baseman (29th, ahead of only Miami).
THE PEN: After 20 big league seasons, Mariano Rivera retired with career records of 652 saves during the regular season and 42 more in the postseason. David Robertson, who has eight career saves, takes over the closer’s role. Boone Logan departed for a $16.5 million, three-year contract with Colorado, and Matt Thornton was signed to take over as the primary left-handed reliever.
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