Derek Jeter DH
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Andruw Jones LF
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez SS
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (13-16, 3.07 in 2011)
Kuroda vs. Rays
Desmond Jennings CF
Carlos Pena 1B
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce LF
Ben Zobrist RF
Luke Scott DH
Jeff Keppinger 2B
Jose Lobaton C
Reid Brignac SS
LHP David Price (12-13, 3.49 in 2011)
Price vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
WEATHER: It’s going to be dry and cool in the dome. That’s a plus.
UMPIRES: HP Sam Holbrook, 1B Andy Fletcher, 2B Rob Drake, 3B Joe West
NOT MANY “I’s” IN THIS TEAM: Raul Ibanez became just the fourth player whose last name begins with the letter I to appear in a game with the Yankees. The other three: Hideki Irabu (1997-99), Pete Incaviglia (1997) and LHP Kei Igawa (2007-08).
YOU CAN TELL THE PLAYERS WITHOUT A PROGRAM: The Yankees have started the same infielders (Teixeira, Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez) and outfielders (Gardner, Granderson, Swisher) on Opening Day for the past three consecutive seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time a Major League team has done that since the Baltimore Orioles from 1979-81.
WONDER IF JETER WOULD HAVE PICKED HER: Derek Jeter is a big American Idol fan, so I wonder if he liked tonight’s National Anthem singer, Shannon Magrane, who finished 11th on Idol this year and happens to be the daughter of former big league starter Joe Magrane. By the way, being a Cardinals fan in the mid-to-late 80s, Magrane was absolutely one of my favorite players as a kid.
UPDATE, 7:25 p.m.: Training with Robinson Cano this winter, Eduardo Nunez hired a coach specifically to work on his defense. Nunez told me during spring training that he felt night and day difference, much more comfortable and confident after last season’s struggles. Of course, the first ball hit to him this year is an error. He attributes most of last year’s errors to rushing, and it looked like he rushed on that play as well, dropping the ball while trying to scoop a routine bouncing grounder.
UPDATE, 7:43 p.m.: The error comes back to hurt the Yankees after Kuroda struggled to get the final out and eventually allowed a two-run single for a 2-0 Rays lead. They’ve scored two runs on just one hit.
UPDATE, 7:59 p.m.: Another run for the Rays on another two-out single. It’s now 3-0.
UPDATE, 8:10 p.m.: Solo homer by Matt Joyce opens the bottom of the third inning and gives the Rays a 4-0 lead. Meanwhile, Derek Jeter has the only two hits for the Yankees.
UPDATE, 8:23 p.m.: Yankees are on the board with back-to-back two-out singles by Granderson and Jones (with a wild pitch in between). It’s 4-1 in the top of the fourth.
UPDATE, 8:30 p.m.: An error, walk and Nunez single has the Yankees back on the board with a second run here in the fourth inning. Jeter is up with runners at the corners and two outs.
UPDATE, 8:32 p.m.: Price gets just enough of the ball for a 1-3 putout to end the fourth inning.
UPDATE, 9:09 p.m.: That was almost awful. Kuroda kept his eye on the ball and didn’t see the fractured bit of bat flying at his head. He finally saw it at the last moment and ducked out of the way just in time. Meanwhile, the Rays have another run and it’s 5-2 in the sixth.
UPDATE, 9:13 p.m.: That’s all for Kuroda, an uninspiring Yankees debut that ends after six runs through 5.2 innings. Here comes Rapada to face Carlos Pena. Granted, the Nunez error in the first means two of these runs are unearned, but Kuroda also walked two in that first inning, which didn’t help matters. He’s allowed eight hits and four walks, which is far more base runners than the Yankees were expecting when they gave him $10 million. It’s just one game, but it’s certainly not a great first impression.
UPDATE, 9:18 p.m.: Nice job by Rapada (pickoff) and Nunez (throw to third) to get the Yankees out of the sixth inning without further damage. It’s 6-2 Rays.
UPDATE, 9:31 p.m.: Looked like a Yankees fan might have reached over the wall to give Longoria a two-run homer, but really, what in the world is Rapada doing facing one of the better right-handed hitters in the game. He’s strictly a left-on-left specialist. Even with Joyce on deck, there’s no reason to risk having Rapada on the mound in that situation. He’s good at a very limited role.
UPDATE, 9:34 p.m.: Upon review, the home run has been changed to a double. No run scores. Runners at second and third for Joyce.
UPDATE, 9:36 p.m.: Not a good day for Yankees debuts. Rapada just gave up a two-run single to lefty Matt Joyce, and now he’s staying in to face yet another right-hander. It’s 8-2 Rays.
UPDATE, 10:07 p.m.: Of course. Rapada was one of the Yankees best pitchers in spring training and he was shelled in his season debut. Cory Wade was one of the worst pitchers this spring, and he’s just plowed through five straight batters, striking out three of them.