Yankees have O's, rest of baseball asking: who are these guys?

The Orioles waste no time jumping into the thick of the American League East race, that's for sure. After the three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays that starts with today's season opener, they'll open a six game road trip against the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees Monday.

And it's the Yankees, with all their injuries to big-name players and their aging lineup, who figure to be one of baseball's most intriguing stories this season.


It was only one game, but the Yankees' offense looked anemic in an 8-2 loss to the Red Sox Monday at Yankee Stadium. That's no surprise for a team that's missing Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson with various ailments.

But it'll be weird for the Orioles to face a Yankees lineup populated with newcomers Vernon Wells, Ben Francisco, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay. Collectively, they could generate only one hit in eight at-bats and put no one in mind of the famed Bronx Bombers of yesteryear.

The Yankees were held to six hits and struck out 10 times, seven with runners on base. And by the seventh inning, Yankees fans were heading to the exits in droves, a comeback apparently out of the question in their minds.

And how weird was it to see Kevin Youkillis in Yankees pinstripes yesterday? Then again,  the former Red Sox generated a familiar Bronx cheer after striking out in the seventh with two on and sending much of the crowd to the parking lots and subways.

Maybe the only familiar element at the Stadium yesterday was the usual intrigue that invariably surrounds this ballclub.

Yesterday it centered on – I know this is shocking -- A-Rod.


The big third baseman was in uniform after offseason hip surgery, hobnobbing with his teammates before the game. But he chose not to be part of the pre-game introductions.

Instead he entertained the voracious New York media with various no-comments and evasive replies to questions about news reports linking him to Biogenisis, the infamous Miami clinic dogged by charges it  provided steroids to major league players.

Rodriguez, who is rehabbing the hip in New York, said he wasn't sure when he'd be back in the Yankees' lineup. But he said whenever he returned, he was sure he could play "at a very high level."

Judging by the gloom that permeated the Stadium yesterday, Yankees fans just hope their team isn't buried deep in the standings by the time A-Rod and some of the other veterans are healthy.

It could be that kind of season in the Bronx.

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