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New York Yankees spring training preview

Camp A-Rod: The revelation that Alex Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs has dominated camp talk early, but the Yankees will get a respite when the All-Star 3B plays for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Will the club be able to toss aside the distraction and allow the high-priced free agents, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, to get acclimated?

Outfield open: There should be interesting competition for two outfield spots, with Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner vying for centerfield and Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher in right. With Hideki Matsui's troublesome left knee relegating him to DH in the spring — and possibly beyond — those battles will likely come to the forefront.

Rehab watch: The health, and availability, of veteran closer Mariano Rivera and C Jorge Posada will be monitored daily. Both say they'll be ready for opening day, with Posada's shoulder doing well so far in his throwing program and Rivera (shoulder) ready for another run. RHP Chien-Ming Wang is also recovering well from a right foot injury that forced him to miss a huge chunk of last season.

Key additions: 1B Teixeira, SP Sabathia, SP Burnett, 1B/OF Swisher, RHP Brett Tomko, RHP Jason Johnson — Sabathia and Burnett help revamp the rotation, and the slugging Teixeira should thrive hitting in front of Rodriguez.

Key losses: OF Bobby Abreu, 1B/DH Jason Giambi, RHP Mike Mussina, C Ivan Rodriguez, RHP Sidney Ponson, RHP Carl Pavano — Yankees hope their offseason pitching splurge turns out better than the $40 million they gave the injury-prone Pavano four years ago.

Prospect to watch: RHP Andrew Brackman. At 6-foot-11, he's awfully tough to miss. But Brackman, a first-round pick in 2007 , has garnered some buzz in camp after missing his first pro season because of Tommy John surgery on his right arm.

Ticket info: From $17-$31, purchased or by calling the Steinbrenner Field ticket office at (813) 879-2244 or Ticketmaster at (813) 287-8844.

New York Yankees spring training preview 02/25/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 12:19am]
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