New York

The Yankees enter spring training in an unusual state: transition.

New York’s major off-season moves were to sign closer Aroldis Chapman as a free agent after trading him last July and to add right-handed hitters Matt Holliday and Chris Carter.

A Baby Bombers youth movement began last summer when catcher Gary Sanchez, outfielder Aaron Judge and first baseman/outfielder Tyler Austin were brought up. More young ‘uns will be given chances this year: Greg Bird, sidelined with a shoulder injury for all of last season, is Mark Teixeira’s likely replacement at first base.

“We could be extremely good, or obviously with some injuries in key areas it could be a difficult situation at the same time,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “We have a lot of quality, young, hungry, talented players, and we still have some veterans mixed in here. And I think if we stay healthy and perform up to our capabilities, I think we can start writing a new chapter in Yankeeland.”

After failing to recover from a 9-17 start, the Yankees’ makeover began when Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran were dealt primarily for prospects, and when Alex Rodriguez was released. New York remained on the periphery of the playoff contention before fading to a fourth-place finish at 84-78, four games back of the second wild card.

Boston, Toronto and Baltimore are projected by most to top the AL East again this year.

“It’s understandable that people are going to predict others to be ahead of us,” Cashman said.

That’s fine with shortstop Didi Gregorius, who at 27 will be among the veterans.

“It’s good to play under the radar,” he said. “If we’re close, they’re going to talk more about us, because they didn’t expect us to be there.”

Starting pitching could be the Yankees’ downfall. Masahiro Tanaka, 14-4 with a 3.07 ERA despite a partially torn elbow ligament diagnosed in 2014, heads a rotation that includes CC Sabathia (9-12, 3.91 and coming off knee surgery) and Michael Pineda (6-12 and 4.82 — the 68th-highest ERA among 74 qualifying pitchers in the major leagues).

Luis Severino, Adam Warren, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa and Chad Green enter spring training competing for the final two rotation slots.

“Hopefully there’s a few nice surprises for us, because there’s some kids that are capable of doing that,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said.

New look

Holliday projects as the only newcomer assured a spot in the batting order. Bird gets a chance to win the first base job over Austin, but Carter could turn the position into a platoon. Carter tied for the National League lead with 41 home runs with Milwaukee last season, but he wasn’t offered a contract for this year.

Rookies to watch

Judge is built like Giancarlo Stanton, but he must put balls in play more after striking out 42 times in 84 at-bats. Austin also struggled at the plate, hitting .241 with seven walks and 36 strikeouts in 83 at-bats.

They’re set

Left fielder Brett Gardner, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Sanchez, Holliday, second baseman Starlin Castro, Gregorius, third baseman Chase Headley are all penciled in. Manager Joe Girardi must decide whether to keep the Gardner-Ellsbury combination atop the order.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.