Orioles Preview - Page 27 - The Yankees

Orioles Preview
- Page 27
The Yankees

Associated Press


The Yankees open the season with likely baseball’s most accomplished injured list.


Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Jordan Montgomery and just-about-forgotten Jacoby Ellsbury will start on the sidelines.


Still, the Yankees have among the most formidable lineups in the major leagues, a power plant that includes Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez.


“We’ve taken hits. It’s not the way you would draw it up, but at the same time it’s part of the playing season where you’re going to be down for a period of time,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “So when you’re dealing with them, then there’s a degree of hits, and these are resolvable ones. These have expiration timing tags to them. For that, you’re thankful.”


The Yankees went 100-62 last season, their best recordsince2009, yet finished eight games back of the AL East champion Red Sox, who won the World Series for the fourth time in 15 seasons. Last year’s Yankees set a major-league record with 267 homers, three more than the 1997 Mariners. The Yankees were the first team with a dozen players to reach double digits in long balls and the first with 20 or more from all nine spots in the batting order.


This year’s lineup figures to have another blast.


“Get this whole team healthy, we’re going to crush the record that we set last year,” Judge said.


The Yankees didn’t pay luxury tax last year for the first time since the penalty started in 2003, showing unusual restraint. They shot back up this year after adding Adam Ottavino and DJ LeMahieu, acquiring James Paxton and re-signing Sabathia, Zack Britton, Brett Gardner and J.A. Happ.


Gardner and Sabathia are the remaining links to the Yankees’ last title, in 2009.


New faces: The Yankees failed to sign Patrick Corbin, making Paxton the biggest acquisition to bolster a rotation that includes Sabathia (38) and Happ (36). Ottavino, the first No. 0 in team history, joins a standout bullpen led by Aroldis Chapman and Britton, who while not a new face has a new spelling — he switched from Zach. Troy Tulowitzki was signed for the minimum to play shortstop until Gregorius returns this summer.


Rookies to watch: Lefty Stephen Tarpley could be the only rookie on the opening-day roster, filling an opening created when Betances got hurt. Touted 21-year-old outfielder Estevan Florial hit .355 in 13 spring games before breaking his right wrist.


What’s up, doc? Severino (right shoulder inflammation) will miss April, Sabathia (knee surgery and heart stent) will likely miss the first few weeks and Hicks (back) and Betances (right shoulder inflammation) also are sidelined. Gregorius (elbow-ligament replacement on Oct. 17), Ellsbury (left hip surgery on Aug. 6, right foot plantar fasciitis) and Montgomery (elbow-ligament replacement on June 7) are longer-term rehabs.


Bouncing back? Sanchez hit .186 with 18 homers and 53 RBIs last year, led the major leagues with 18 passed balls and was behind the plate for 45 wild pitches. First baseman Greg Bird had surgery last Marchto remove a broken spur on the outside of his right ankle. He did not play untilMay26 and wound up with a .199 batting average over 82 games. Tulowitzki missed last season in Toronto because of surgery.


Photo: Aaron Judge will be a legitimate MVP candidate for the homer-happy Yankees.