Pitching beat the Yankees last year. Not Boston's: their own. New York had only one starter with more than 10 wins. Those numbers stand as a testament to manager Lou Piniella, who finagled 90 victories out of the ragtag arms.
So the Yanks came up with two solutions. The more traditional one was to trade for Rick Rhoden. The 33-year-old veteran had been pining to be saved from the deadly confines of Three Rivers Stadium. After New York won three straight spring training games, Rhoden lauded it as a "longer winning streak than I ever had in Pittsburgh."
New York's second, decidedly nontraditional solution to the pitching problem was more pitching coaches: eight of them, nine counting Tommy John. John retired his pinstripes last fall to become pitching coach at North Carolina, but after a month he turned on his Tar Heels and came back to New York. Piniella says, "We're counting on Tommy. That's the bottom line. Counting." The Yankees are also hoping Ron Guidry will rejoin them on May 1.
Hitting isn't a problem with this club, not with three of the most dangerous players in the game, Rickey Henderson, Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield. Dan Pasqua, the 25-year-old lefthanded slugger, has the Yankees so excited that they are thinking of batting him cleanup.
So if the starters can keep them in the game long enough for Dave Righetti to come to the rescue, this just might be a team that keeps George Steinbrenner quiet this season, (Pause) Naaah.
With 83 SBs, will move into 3rd on modern career list, behind Lou Brock and Ty Cobb.
Has batted over .300 leading off innings in each of last three seasons.
First 30-HR hitter since Ted Kluszewski and Yogi Berra (1956) to have fewer than 40 Ks.
The first player in 20 years to have five consecutive 100-RBI seasons.
Hits a HR every 12.9 at bats at home againsl righthanders—close to the Babe's career rate.
Career BA of .198 (with 3 HRs in 111 ABs) in his new home park.
Did not hit a HR in his final 99 at bats; drove in two runs in final 28 games.
One of 14 Yankee catchers in last seven years. Remember Dennis Werth? Bruce Robinson?
Most plate appearances (1,903) of any active player without an intentional walk.
Allowed fewer than two runs in 14 of 34 starts last year.
In 18 career bases-loaded situations, he has given up five grand slams.
Held top 15 AL batters to combined .115 average, lowest in league.
2.14 walks per nine innings, 2nd best among major league rookies.
Opponents have career average of .153 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
In his last three seasons, he has 106 saves, the most in the majors.