AL preview: Yankees back to being the Yankees again

New York wrote checks in its attempt to solve that 2013 third-place problem.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka delivers in the first inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Tampa, Fla., Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira scanned a clubhouse with several new and established faces and was convinced his team had improved in every area.

Brian McCann was a few feet away, holding court with media. Jacoby Ellsbury wasn’t far away, settling into new surroundings after a career with rival Boston. Japanese reporters were waiting for Masahiro Tanaka to say or do anything.

Because of these, and other, newcomers, the Yankees are ready to distance themselves from a 2013 season dominated by Alex Rodriguez’s Biogenics scandal and injuries to Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson that left the on-field product with no identity — and the team in third place.

“You look at our lineup, we’re back to being the Yankees again,’’ Teixeira said. “Last year we weren’t the Yankees.’’

The Yankees’ 85 victories last season were their fewest in a full season since 1992. They finished tied for third, a depth they have reached only one other time since ’92. All you need to know about last year’s broken-down baseball machine is that the Yankees scored 650 runs — only 36 runs more than the Twins. And we all know how the Twins did.

It was enough to send lefthander CC Sabathia to the gym during the offseason, and the staff ace reportedly lost 40 pounds. Now he must find his fastball, which averaged around 91 miles per hour last season after years at around 94.

“Nobody wants to go through that again,” Sabathia said. “It sticks with me a lot — just being disappointed in not being able to help this team win. I feel like if I could have been a little better we might have made the playoffs. I blamed myself for a long time in the offseason.’’

Did the Yankees do enough — spend enough — to return to prominence in a beast of an AL East? The Red Sox are baseball’s defending champs and the pesky Rays and surging Orioles are on the rise, making the Yankees’ challenge daunting.

“There are no easy series with the emergence of Tampa Bay and Baltimore,’’ Teixeira said.

They signed Tanaka, a talented Japanese righthander, for seven years and $155 million after paying a $20 million posting fee. Ellsbury received $153 million over seven years. McCann is getting $85 million over five years. Savvy veteran hitter Carlos Beltran was signed for three years and $45 million.

Those moves need to offset losses elsewhere. Robinson Cano is off to Seattle, with Brian Roberts — who hasn’t played more than 77 games in a season since 2009 — replacing him at second base. A-Rod and his daily drama are out of the clubhouse as he serves a seasonlong suspension — but his replacement at third base is Kelly Johnson.

Sabathia, Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda form a solid rotation, and the Yankees are encouraged by 25-year-old Michael Pineda, who has missed the past two seasons because of injuries. David Robertson, effective as a setup man, replaces the legend Mariano Rivera as the new Yankees closer.

Rivera and Andy Pettitte retired after last season. Jeter, who missed most of last season because of a broken ankle, is retiring after this season, his 20th. He is the last link to the Yankees dynasties under late owner George Steinbrenner.

“I know he has a lot of championships, but I have none,’’ Beltran said. “Hopefully I can win one.’’

The season will be one long farewell tour for Jeter. What is unknown is when that tour will end — September or well into October? The Yankees haven’t missed the postseason in consecutive nonstrike years since 1992-93.

“I don’t know how far we will go,’’ Beltran said, “but at least we have to do something positive, and better than what they did last year, no doubt about that.’’



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Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

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Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
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