A host of new faces as Red Sox-Yankees open season

When Robinson Cano runs out to his position at second base
Monday at Yankee Stadium and looks to his right, Derek Jeter and
Alex Rodriguez will be missing. A glance to the left, and no Mark
Teixeira.

Cano can check the trainer’s room if he needs to find a familiar
face.

”You don’t want to see anybody get hurt, but it’s part of life.
Hopefully, they get well soon,” Cano said. ”Hopefully, we can
just stay in the race until whenever they get back, and when we get
them back and they help us to make it all the way to the
playoffs.”

Fans may need to consult their programs when the defending AL
East champions take the field against the revamped Boston Red Sox
for the 111th opening day in franchise history Monday. Jeter
(ankle) will not be at shortstop in an opener for the first time
since 2001. Teixeira (wrist) and Curtis Granderson (forearm) are
out at least until May and Rodriguez (hip) won’t be back until the
All-Star break if at all this season.

Throw in the departures of Russell Martin and Nick Swisher to
free agency as the Yankees try to trim their payroll for 2014, and
the team will have a look that is more brittle than bombers.

In fact, when Yankees manager Joe Girardi takes the lineup card
out to home plate for the team’s first game that counts since New
York was swept by Detroit in the AL championship series, only three
names from opening day 2012 will be on it: Cano, Brett Gardner and
pitcher CC Sabathia.

In place of the injured and departed is a collection of retreads
and castoffs.

Vernon Wells, a late-spring training acquisition from the Los
Angeles Angels, will start in left field. Lyle Overbay gets the nod
at first base, six days after being cut by the Red Sox. Former
Boston star Kevin Youkilis was the Yankees lone big free-agent
signing, brought in as a $12 million placeholder for A-Rod. Ben
Francisco could be the designated hitter against lefty Jon
Lester.

”It’s still the Yankees, it’s still going to be a good
lineup,” Lester said Sunday. ”They’re going to put quality
at-bats together. They’re missing a few of their big guys but
anybody that fills in for them it’s like what I said, they’re going
to put professional at-bats together and still – it’s not going to
be a walk in the park.”

The Red Sox also took a different approach this offseason. After
going 69-93 and finishing last in the AL East for the first time
since 1992, the Red Sox replaced the high-priced players they
traded last summer – Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl
Crawford – with a more modest crew that includes Mike Napoli, Shane
Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Dempster and Joel Hanrahan.

The Bobby Valentine experiment lasted only one season. John
Farrell is back from a two-season stint as the Blue Jays manager.
Boston’s former pitching coach is certain the Red Sox have put last
season behind them.

”I think our guys starting at the final day of last year were
looking forward to rewriting the story that unfolded last year,”
Farrell said. ”By virtue of the changes to our roster. There’s a
number of new players who weren’t here a year ago that they don’t
carry those sentiments.”

One of those changes is the rapid rise of Jackie Bradley Jr.,
the dynamic 2011 first-round pick (40th overall) who made the Red
Sox roster after a spectacular spring training. Having never played
above Double-A, Bradley hit .419 with a .507 on-base percentage.
He’s getting a chance because David Ortiz was placed on the 15-day
disabled list, retroactive to March 22, with a right Achilles
tendon injury.

Bradley will start in left field Monday and Gomes will be the
designated hitter.

”He’s fun to watch,”Victorino said ofrBradley, who turns 23 on
April 19.

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is looking forward to
seeing Youkilis, new look and all.

”It’s going to be a little different, especially he’ll be
clean-shaved and everything,” Pedroia said.

A lot will be different when the two clubs who have dominated
their division for more than a decade take the field as underdogs.
But Lester thinks the matchup remains the best rivalry in
baseball.

”I think anytime you have Red Sox-Yankees, it’s going to be
intense and the rivalry is still going to be there,” he said.
”Adding opening day to it is going to be fun.”

NOTES: To make room for Bradley on the 40-man roster, INF Mauro
Gomez was designated for assignment. … Boston placed pitchers
Craig Breslow (left shoulder tendinitis) and Franklin Morales
(lower back strain) on the 15-day DL, both retroactive to March 22.
… The Yankees made it official and placed Granderson, Jeter,
Teixeira and Phil Hughes on the DL, all retroactive to March 22.
… The Yankees recalled RHP Adam Warren from Triple-A
Scranton-Wilkes/Barre. New York designated LHP Clay Rapada for
assignment to make room for Overbay, whose contract was selected
from the minors. … In Tampa, Fla., Granderson said he is
scheduled to have follow-up X-rays Monday. … Hughes said he is
scheduled to pitch Saturday for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and then
rejoin the Yankees in Cleveland next week.