What a difference a year makes Yankee fans. Last season was a nightmare for the Yankees. Never had a Yankee team been more ravaged by injuries during the Core Four Era. Joe Girardi had to do some of his best work as a manager to keep the team in contention, while the trainers probably worked harder than they ever had.
When March rolled into Tampa last spring, the Yankees season was looking bleak. The Captain wasn’t recovering from the surgery on his broken ankle suffered in the 2012 ALCS. Alex Rodriguez’s season was becoming more and more in doubt following major hip surgery. Michael Pineda was still battling the shoulder injury that had prevented him from throwing a pitch in pinstripes. Mark Teixeira suffered the wrist injury that would derail his season and Curtis Granderson had already broken his forearm that would ultimately cost him his season. Brian Cashman, usually active in Tampa, was also on the shelf with a broken ankle he suffered in a freak parachuting accident.The Yankees season had seemingly come to an end before it even started.
2014 is all different. Teixeira made his long awaited spring debut Thursday at Bright House Field in Clearwater against the Phillies. Despite going 0-for-3, he came out unscathed and ready for more. “My wrist felt good, my body felt good,” Teixiera told reporters after the game. Jeter snapped his Grapefruit League 0-for-9 slump and went 2-2 with a single and a double. Alfonso Soriano put the dizzy spells and flu behind him and made his first start at DH. He admittedly looked rusty, but came out healthy. “I felt good, but I have to work on my timing and swinging at strikes,” he confessed after the game. Masahiro Tanaka, despite allowing his first home run of the season, looked as if he was already an aged veteran. Even the injury-prone Brian Roberts, who could be the 2014 X-factor, played well. He made several nice plays defensively and looks fresh for the first time in a while. Micheal Pineda looked impressive in his spring debut Friday night against the Tigers.
I know, I know. It’s only March. The Yankees are amongst the oldest teams in baseball. This is precisely why yesterday’s game should be such a positive. Just one year ago, Yankee fans were wondering who we were going to field as a team. This season, thus far, it looks like this squad is poised to make a run at #28.