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Yankees preview: Aging lineup must stay healthy to succeed

Alex Rodriguez led the Yankees with 33 home

Alex Rodriguez led the Yankees with 33 home runs during the season in which he turned 40 years old. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Over the years, the narrative hasn’t changed much for the Yankees lineup. The 2016 collective remains a group of aging veterans, most of which have battled injuries in recent seasons.

But, year after year, the Bombers continue to find ways to put a ton of runs on the board.

Still, manager Joe Girardi and company must understand several key players are on borrowed time, starting with the incomparable Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod finished 2015 a 40-year-old, 21-year veteran and full-time designated hitter who belted 33 home runs and drove in 86 runs in 151 games.

Mark Teixeira, who turns 36 on April 11, and Carlos Beltran, 39 on April 24, were effective last season. Teixeira, in fact, was second to A-Rod with 31 homers. But they played in 111 and 133 games, respectively. Including A-Rod, these three stars of yesteryear cannot be counted on with confidence to make it through 162 games at this stage.

Even the group of early-30s Yanks — Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Chase Headley — has its concerns. Gardner was a first-time All-Star last season, but he struggled after the break and has dealt with wrist issues. McCann has caught 1,280 games behind the plate in his career. Ellsbury has exceeded 134 games just twice over the last six seasons. Headley has remained healthy, but his 23 errors at third base last season are a worry.

The most reliable options may be a pair of 26-year-old middle infielders. New second baseman Starlin Castro is a three-time All-Star who fell out of favor with the Cubs, and he’s a prime candidate for a resurgence in the Bronx. Did Gregorius, who shouldered the burden of replacing the retired Derek Jeter at shortstop, weathered a rough start to hit .294 during the second half of the season.


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