40-man roster players: Wilson Betemit, Robinson Cano, Shelley Duncan, Jason Giambi, Alberto Gonzalez, Derek Jeter, Juan Miranda, Alex Rodriguez,
Non-roster invitees: Bernie Castro, Eric Duncan, Morgan Ensberg, Nick Green, Cody Ransom, Marcos Vechionacci.
On the way: It is believed the Yankees have agreed to terms with veteran infielder Chris Woodward, who played all four spots for the Braves last season but hit only .199.
Competition: Jeter (shortstop), Rodriguez (third base) and Cano (second base) are guaranteed to start barring injury or alien invasion. First base is up in the air. The Yankees used 10 players at first base last season. The two players who saw the most action – Doug Mientkiewicz and Andy Phillips – were not offered contracts to return. The Yankees would welcome right-handed hitting Shelley Duncan to grab the spot but signed Ensberg, a veteran third baseman, to give him competition. Giambi can play first but the Yankees would rather not go use that option.
Don’t Sleep On: Ensberg could well end up at first base. His power numbers have taken a dive in recent years (hmmm) but he had a .396 OBP with the Astros in 2006 and drew 101 walks. He would seem to fit right in with the team’s offensive approach. But Ensberg has played only one game of first in his pro career. It’s not so easy, just ask Mike Piazza.
Promotion Possibilities: Slim pickings here. Miranda is ticketed for Triple-A but could slug his way into the mix. If Green or Woodward can’t do the job, Gonzalez couldd emerge as the utiility infielder. The Attorney General has a slick glove.
Youngster of Interest: Eric Duncan has been with the Yankees for five years but is only 23. The former first-round pick out of Seton Hall Prep was left unprotected for the Rule 5 Draft and went unclaimed. He has hit only .250 in the minors – .234 at Triple-A. The Yankees are holding out hope that he will emerge at some point. But this year could be his last chance.