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Age finally catching up to Yankees?
The Bleacher Creatures, those boisterous fans at Yankee Stadium who chant each starter’s name in the top of the first inning, may need to think up some new roll calls for Opening Day.
For the missing …
For the (hopefully) recovered . . .
And for the actual players on the field …
Um …. which ones still have all of their arms and legs in working order?
Presenting the new Core Four …
Travis Hafner, the new DH, doesn’t make the cut, not after averaging 86 games per season over the past five years.
Whichever replacement-level player the Yankees plan to use at catcher also doesn’t make the cut, not at a position previously occupied by such Yankee greats as Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Thurman Munson and Jorge Posada.
Where have you gone, Russell Martin?
Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez, Yankee fans turn their lonely eyes to you.
For years, rival clubs have examined the advanced ages on the Yankees’ roster and waited for the team to crumble. This year, it finally might be happening — and actually, Yankees of all ages are getting hurt.
Yet even now — even after learning Wednesday that Teixeira will join Granderson and Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list to start the season — I’m still not convinced the Yankees will miss the playoffs for only the second time in the past 19 years.
Of course, by the time the season starts — and we’re nearly a month from that time of “renewal” — who knows if any other Yankees will still be standing?
Ah, but there is good news.
Rivera, 43, is supposed to make his first appearance of the spring on Saturday. Jeter, 38, is expected to play his first game of the spring on Sunday. Granderson and Teixeira, meanwhile, figure to miss only a month, or slightly more — though for hitters, recoveries from wrist/forearm injuries can be tricky.
The Yankees don’t need to rush into anything, not that there is anything to rush into. General manager Brian Cashman, who — natch — broke his right fibula and dislocated his ankle while skydiving earlier this week, told reporters that the pool of available players “is kind of like a baby pool. A lot of kids pee in it.”
The ability of Youkilis to play third or first allows Cashman to pursue a player at either position. The Yankees still could look for a better alternative in the outfield than Juan Rivera, Matt Diaz or any of their minor leaguers. But don’t expect them to do anything dramatic. It wasn’t their style this offseason, and it’s not going to be their style now, particularly when every other club would love to prey on their seeming desperation.
Sorry, Cashman doesn’t do desperate.
He’ll scour the waiver wire. Maybe he’ll sign a low-level free agent. Maybe he’ll make a minor trade.
Whatever he does, the Bleacher Creatures had better be ready. They might need a pronunciation guide on Opening Day. They're sure not going to be chanting the usual names.
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