new york yankees. opening day.

so stoked for the season to begin!

(image via @yankeespr)

throwing the first ceremonial pitch of the season: mike mussina

The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by five-time All-Star Mike Mussina. It will mark the first time that Mussina, who will be honored with the "Pride of the Yankees" award at the 2011 Homecoming Dinner on Wednesday night, will throw out an Opening Day ceremonial first pitch. He will become the 10th former Yankees player to be bestowed the Opening Day honor. Mussina was a member of the Yankees pitching staff from 2001-08, compiling a record of 123-72 with a 3.88 ERA. Over his 18-year Major League career, he made 536 combined starts (537 appearances) with the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles and went 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA and 2,813 strikeouts.
Actress and singer Haley Swindal will sing the national anthem, and a giant flag will be unfurled by 75 West Point cadets, while the West Point Color Guard will present the colors.
During the seventh-inning stretch, Michael Minarik of the Broadway hit Rock of Ages will perform "God Bless America."

(full article here)

oh & wait...
derek jeter to bat second!?

Derek Jeter will bat second against right-handed pitchers in the upcoming regular season, ceding the primary leadoff slot to left fielder Brett Gardner.

Jeter is expected to bat second against right-handed pitchers and to reprise his leadoff duties against southpaws, and Girardi said that the move was designed to take advantage of Gardner's patience and ability to run the bases.

Jeter, strangely enough, has posted remarkably similar statistics in the leadoff and second spot in the order. The 11-time All-Star has batted .313 with a .385 on-base percentage and a .454 slugging mark as the team's leadoff hitter, and he's batted .314 with a .385 on-base and .454 slugging percentages as the No. 2 batter. True to form, Jeter said his placement won't matter.

"I've hit second more than I've hit first anyway," said Jeter before Girardi's revelation.

As usual, Jeter was correct. He's logged 3,069 at-bats in the leadoff spot in his career, but he's had significantly more (5,188) as the second batter in the lineup. Gardner, who logged a .383 on-base percentage and a .379 slugging mark last season, will likely bat at the bottom of the order against lefties. Against righties, though, he's one of Girardi's best hopes.
(full article here)

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