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A new year in every way

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[2]Welcome to 2013. Does everything feel different yet?

The Yankees have entered a fascinating new chapter, and it’s hard to remember such uncertainty hanging over this franchise. This new year brings a new way of doing things, and we’ll spend the next 12 months finding out whether the new Yankees model will work in the short-term, and whether it has any hope of working in the long-term.

Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are back for one more season. Kevin Youkilis and Ichiro Suzuki are plugging holes. Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are heading toward free agency. Even Joe Girardi is in the final year of his contract. 

What does this group have left, and where do these guys go from here?

Alex Rodriguez’s hip, Michael Pineda’s shoulder and Derek Jeter’s ankle are all in need of rehabilitation. Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and David Aardsma are each trying to rediscover old successes not long forgotten. Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Brett Gardner will have opportunities to define themselves as either impact players or secondary support staff.

Despite such uncertainty, the Yankees goal for the next 10 months remains the same as always.  

Beyond those next 10 months, the end of 2013 will be all about the new collective bargaining agreement, the Yankees decision to limit spending, and Brian Cashman’s task of building a contender with a significantly smaller budget. Truth be told, that big picture objective will hang over everything, from the Yankees ability to spend in the next two months, to their ability to make a splash at the trade deadline, to their ability to sign impact players in the winter.

Success or not, the fascination is inevitable.

In some ways, the Yankees new year will be fascinating for all the wrong reasons — money and injuries and significant limitations — but in other ways, it will be fascinating in every way that sports are supposed to be fascinating. Proven veteran players out to prove themselves all over again. Young players trying to make their mark. Front office executives trying to make smart moves that go beyond dollars and cents.

Welcome to 2013. Whether it feels that way or not, things are most certainly different this year

Associated Press photo