by Eddie Mayrose
It’s here. That weekend on the sports calendar better than all the others. The Final Four, Masters week and, of course, the opening of the baseball season. No matter what the weather, (and the Yankees are slated to open today in less than stellar conditions), it’s always a little warmer when there are baseball highlights to watch and box scores to follow. The optimism that marks the beginning of each season may fade quickly here in New York, however, as both of our local nines are facing problems that could hinder any run to the top.
While the Yankees are clearly in better position than the Mets to contend within their division, they have somehow managed to compile a $200 million dollar roster that is woefully short on pitching. C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes, All Stars both, will anchor the top of the rotation as will Rafael Soriano and the ageless Mariano Rivera in the bullpen. The matter of who starts on the other three days and who bridges the gap to the ace relievers is one that will plague GM Brian Cashman through at least July, and possibly all year.
It has been a tried and true Yankee policy to acquire whatever they need for the stretch run at the trading deadline. A daunting task in 2011, however, as one mid-season pickup may not be enough. Unless A.J. Burnett has a miraculous turnaround, the Bombers will probably need two pitchers to carry them through September.