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Opening Day: Yankees vs. Blue Jays

Hello from Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, where you could not ask for more perfect conditions with a season opener on tap — gorgeous sunshine, a little spring chill in the air, and the Yankees ready to slip the pinstripes on and take the field against the Toronto Blue Jays.

After seven weeks of watching games that did not count in the standings, it’s great to be able to say that this one will. Masahiro Tanaka makes his first career Opening Day start against Toronto right-hander Drew Hutchison. The Yanks will take the field at 1:08 p.m., and Joe Torre is here to throw the ceremonial first pitch.

Here are the lineups for today’s game, the beginning of the 113th season in Yankees franchise history, as well as this journey which will bounce us around the country for 162 games over the next six months:

BLUE JAYS (0-0)
Jose Reyes SS
Russell Martin C
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Josh Donaldson 3B
Dioner Navarro DH
Dalton Pompey CF
Kevin Pillar LF
Devon Travis 2B

Drew Hutchison RHP

YANKEES (0-0)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Didi Gregorius SS

Masahiro Tanaka RHP

Spring Game 33: Yankees vs. Nationals

The bags are packed, the cars have been sent north and the plane is waiting on the runway at Tampa International Airport. This is the end of the Grapefruit League portion of the spring, as CC Sabathia makes his final start. The Nationals are here and anxiously will be looking forward to getting to D.C., where the Yanks will tag along for an exhibition game Saturday before making it to The Bronx.

“I’m pleased with the way [Spring Training] went,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We had a couple of injuries that we have to deal with. We’ll try to get through these next two days without anything happening, but pretty good.”

Girardi said that the backup catcher decision won’t be made until tomorrow. He also said that the Yankees may go into the season with no set closer, as Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller could share the duties. Here are the lineups as we say goodbye to George M. Steinbrenner Field until 2016 in a game that will be televised on YES:

NATIONALS (10-15-4)
Michael Taylor cf
Yunel Escobar 3b
Bryce Harper rf
Ryan Zimmerman 1b
Wilson Ramos c
Ian Desmond ss
Tyler Moore lf
Danny Espinosa 2b
Stephen Strasburg p

YANKEES (16-15-1)
Brett Gardner lf
Didi Gregorius ss
Brian McCann dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Garrett Jones rf
Chase Headley 3b
Chris Young cf
Gregorio Petit 2b
John Ryan Murphy c

CC Sabathia lhp

Spring Game 30: Yankees vs. Rays

Chase Whitley is making his seventh appearance (second start) of the spring on Wednesday.

Chase Whitley is making his seventh appearance (second start) of the spring on Wednesday.

Hello from George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the end of spring is near. The players’ cars have been loaded on the truck, the clubhouse is emptying out and we are officially in the home stretch. They say Spring Training is about a week too long, and you can tell the players are ready to play in some games that count. But first, the Yanks and the Rays will lock up this afternoon in a game that is being televised on YES.

Jacoby Ellsbury is playing in his first spring game since March 15, having logged five at-bats in a Minor League game yesterday with the Double-A Trenton squad. Didi Gregorius isn’t playing yet due to some swelling in his left wrist, but otherwise, this looks like the Opening Day lineup. Chase Whitley gets the start against Jordan Norberto.

A good sign for Gregorius’ wrist: Sir Didi is listed on the travel roster for tomorrow’s game against the Tigers in Lakeland. Upcoming pitching announced by the Yankees to wrap the spring — Michael Pineda faces A.J. Burnett tomorrow here, Bryan Mitchell faces the Tigers in Lakeland. On April 3, CC Sabathia faces Stephen Strasburg at Steinbrenner Field, and on April 4 in Washington, Nathan Eovaldi takes on Doug Fister.

Here are the lineups:

RAYS (12-12-2)
John Jaso DH
Logan Forsythe 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Desmond Jennings LF
James Loney 1B
Rene Rivera C
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Brandon Guyer RF
Juan Francisco 3B

Jordan Norberto LHP

In relief: Grant Balfour, Kirby Yates

YANKEES (15-13-1)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Brendan Ryan SS

Chase Whitley RHP

In relief: Esmil Rogers, Chasen Shreve, Andrew Bailey

Spring Game 29: Yankees at Twins

Masahiro TanakaHello from Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla., where Masahiro Tanaka is set to make his final tune-up before taking the Opening Day assignment on April 6. Tanaka opted for the 2-1/2 hour ride over pitching at the Minor League complex because he wanted the increased intensity of facing a big league lineup. Tanaka is set to throw 75 pitches, and this game is on FSNO-HD.

Back in Tampa, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran are playing in a Minor League game at the Himes Avenue complex. This marks Ellsbury’s first game action since March 15 due to his oblique injury, but the Yankees have been confident all along that Ellsbury will be ready for Opening Day. Adam Warren is starting in a Minor League game as well, being caught by John Ryan Murphy. There’s a lot you can read into that, even though Joe Girardi says he isn’t ready to name a fifth starter.

Other updates:

Didi Gregorius (left wrist strain) had “a little bit of swelling yesterday,” according to Girardi, who said that “we’ll try to work that out before we put him in.” The original plan was to play Gregorius on Wednesday, but it sounds like they won’t force it. Mark Teixeira (right knee bruise) will play Wednesday, Girardi said.

The decisions on the backup catcher and last two bullpen spots will probably “go down to the wire,” Girardi said. The catcher job is between Murphy and Austin Romine, who’s here today catching Tanaka. In the bullpen, the Yanks need to pick two from the group of Andrew Bailey, Chris Martin, Chasen Shreve and Chase Whitley.

Girardi seemed to tip his hand a bit today, saying that he would not carry Bailey unless he showed that he could pitch in back-to-back games, and that the Yankees aren’t going to rush him to do so. Martin has had a rough spring, so it’s possible those calls could go to Shreve (a third lefty, joining Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson) and Whitley as a second long man.

“I think it comes down to who we think is going to help us the most, is the bottom line,” Girardi said. “I don’t think you necessarily in your mind say I have to have a third lefty. Is it a luxury? Sure it is, but I think it’s who we think is going to help us the most.”

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (15-12-1)
Brett Gardner LF
Brendan Ryan 3B
Chris Young CF
Garrett Jones 1B
Austin Romine C
Rob Refsnyder 2B
Ramon Flores RF
Nick Noonan SS
Eric Jagielo DH

RHP Masahiro Tanaka

In relief: Chris Martin, Danny Burawa, Chasen Shreve.

TWINS (11-14-2)
Jordan Schafer CF
Eduardo Escobar SS
Chris Herrmann RF
Kennys Vargas 1B
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Adam Brett Walker DH
Shane Robinson LF
Eric Fryer C
Doug Bernier 2B

LHP Tommy Milone

In relief: Glen Perkins, Mike Pelfrey, Casey Fien, D.J. Johnson, Zack Jones.

Spring Game 28: Yankees at Astros

It’s been a busy day thus far in Yankees camp, so let’s get to some of the quick hits before we go into the lineups for the Grapefruit League game against the Astros here in Kissimmee, Fla. …

Mark Teixeira was hit on the right knee by a pitch while playing in a Minor League game at the team’s complex in Tampa. Teixeira left the game, but told reporters that he is “fine.” Joe Girardi said that he would provide more information later. … Didi Gregorius reported some improvement in his strained left wrist. He is receiving treatment today and the goal is to play him on Wednesday. Brian Cashman said that Gregorius had both an X-ray and an MRI, and both were clean.

The Yankees re-signed right-hander Jared Burton to a Minor League deal. Burton was released three days ago and had his spring interrupted by a strained lat. … The Yankees have re-assigned right-hander Kyle Davies to Minor League camp and optioned right-hander Bryan Mitchell to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Both will pitch in the RailRiders’ rotation to begin the year.

Here are the lineups in Kissimmee, where Alex Rodriguez is set to make his first career appearance at first base:

YANKEES (14-12-1)
Brendan Ryan SS
Chase Headley 3B
John Ryan Murphy C
Alex Rodriguez 1B
Stephen Drew 2B
Rob Refsnyder DH
Ramon Flores RF
Slade Heathcott CF
Jonathan Galvez LF

Nathan Eovaldi P

Also pitching: Esmil Rogers, Chase Whitley, Chasen Shreve.

ASTROS (10-8-4)
Jose Altuve 2B
George Springer RF
Luis Valbuena 3B
Evan Gattis DH
Jason Castro C
Jed Lowrie SS
Colby Rasmus CF
Jon Singleton 1B
Robbie Grossman LF

Scott Feldman RHP

Also pitching: Brad Peacock, Chad Qualls.

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