Mar 28, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) swings at a pitch in the first inning of the spring training exhibition game against the Miami Marlins at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees Opening Day Lineup Set. Play Ball!

Opening Day has arrived and with it a new and exciting hope for the Yankees this season. The Yankees bolstered their roster this off-season signing stars Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran to big-money contracts and are looking to reap the spoils of their labors in 2014. The Bombers start their season in Houston to face the Astros and manager Joe Girardi has released his Opening Day lineup with C.C. Sabathia on the mound.

CF Jacoby Ellsbury L

SS Derek Jeter R

RF Carlos Beltran S

C Brian McCann L

1B Mark Teixeira S

DH Alfonso Soriano R

LF Brett Gardner L

3B Kelly Johnson L

2B Brian Roberts S

That’s a pretty deep lineup and it has a very dynamic mixture of power and speed. Gardner and Ellsbury are the team’s top speedsters and they both have the potential for power. Beltran, McCann, Teixeira, and Soriano are all perennial sluggers and they provide the squad with great middle-of-the-order pop that could spell real trouble for opposing pitchers. Of course we all know what Derek Jeter can do and he’ll be looking to go out with a bang in his final season before retirement. When healthy, Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts are no slouches at the plate and will be very solid players for the Yankees in 2014. Switch-hitters Beltran, Teixeira, and Roberts give the lineup a lot of flexibility that it lacked last year. In 2013 the Yankees were lefty-heavy and with no switch-hitter in the lineup it was easy for opposing teams to send in a reliever to match-up and it cost them a lot of runs in important situations. This season looks to turn out a little differently.

What the Yankees have in this lineup are options. They can mix and match this starting squad to better compete against opposing pitchers. Joe Girardi and his handy dandy binder will have a field day when it comes to putting these guys on the lineup card. Gardner, Jeter, and Ellsbury are all viable lead-off hitters and they could each be effective anywhere in the lineup. Beltran, McCann, Teixeira, and Soriano can be interchangeable at the 3-4 spots and give a lot of depth to the 5-6 holes. Coupled with a very strong bench, this lineup is among the best in the American League if everyone performs. That’s a big “if”, but if anyone can coax a magic season from a group of stars like this it’s the New York Yankees. Play ball!

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