Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mets Win Spring Training Opener; NY Yankees Preview

Players of the Day for March 2, 2010 National League Just in case you didn't notice, major league teams began playing actual exhibition games on Tuesday. Actually, the only two teams participating were the Mets and Braves, with the Amazin's coming out on top of a 4-2 score. Mets' reliever Bobby Livingston, who underwent surgery in the off-season to repair a partially torn labrum, worked 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win, striking out 4 Atlanta batters while walking two. After Livingston finished off the Braves in the top of the 5th, the Mets struck for three runs in the bottom frame, earning him the win. Leadoff batter Jesus Feliciano, Jason Pridie and Ruben Tejada each drove in a run in the decisive fifth. Expected to fight for a spot on the Mats' bullpen roster, Livingston hasn't thrown in the major leagues since 2007, when he went 3-3 with the Cincinnati Reds. MLB Preview: NY Yankees: The World Champion Yankees should be a force to contend with in the AL East once again. In fact, they may be even better than last year's squad as they have added outfielder Curtis Granderson (from Detroit) and Javier Vazquez to the rotation. Though the Yanks shipped off veterans Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, their replacements should fill in more than adequately. Melky Cabrera was also traded, so the outfield is going to have a younger, new look, with Granderson likely starting in left and Brett Gardner in center. Right field is an open position, with the departure of Matsui, though Nick Swisher and Randy Winn (anothr off-season addition) are probably going to platoon, depending on the situation. Both are switch hitters, so manager joe Girardi has options. Question marks remain concerning the starting rotation, which, after C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Vazquez, is in need of a fifth starter. The obvious choice is Joba Chamberlain, but he was inconsistent last season and will be pushed by Chad Gaudin and Phil Hughes, both of whom did double duty last season in spot starts and as middle relievers. The infield of Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez may be the best in baseball. There's power up and down the lineup, but, with Granderson and Winn, the Yankees have added the element of speed to the offensive mix. New York should finish no worse than second in the AL East, though the likelihood of capturing the division crown again seems a pretty solid bet. Barring injuries, the Yankees should dominate the league again and could produce well over 100 wins. A return trip to the World Series is a distinct possibility. At 3-1, the Yankees are the odds-on favorite to win the 2010 World Series, according to the future book in Las Vegas.

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