The Yankees finalized their 25-man roster yesterday with their choice of new utility man Yangervis Solarte instead of the more familiar Eduardo Nunez. Now the team has a full roster of players who not only have a job to do, but also come with reason for hopeful optimism, but also reason for practical skepticism. Here’s the 25-man roster, with each player given one exclamation point and one question mark; one cause for hope and one cause for uncertainty.
Best hitter in spring training!
Can he produce like he did before last season’s injury and suspension?
Starting first baseman
No setbacks with his surgically repaired wrist!
Can he drive the ball enough to be a legitimate run-producing power hitter?
Regular second baseman
Switch-hitting former all-star says he’s finally healthy again!
Can he really play a full season after four years of injury problems?
The Captain is back for one last season, and he’s proven doubters wrong in the past!
Yes, he’s Derek Jeter, but how good can he be as he approaches 40 after a season lost to injury?
Regular third baseman
Left-handed power in Yankee Stadium!
After spending most of his career at second base, can he really play third?
Grinder-type looks like a valuable, under-the-radar role player!
Never even invited to big league camp with the lowly Padres, now the Yankees need him?
Spring standout could be a diamond in the rough!
Can you really trust spring numbers from a minor league free agent with no big league time?
Starting center fielder
One of the game’s top leadoff hitters has switched sides in the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry!
Was a seven-year deal really wise for a guy whose injury problems have already caused him to miss time?
Starting left fielder
Elite defender in left who looked like a viable leadoff man last year!
Is a light-hitting speedster really the best option in a typically power-based position like left field?
Regular right fielder
Veteran switch hitter coming off back to-back all-star seasons in St. Louis!
Defense has slipped in recent years; how long before the soon-to-be 37-year-old’s bat does the same?
Regular designated hitter
Last year’s trade sparked huge production down the stretch!
Can the 38-year-old get used to the DH role while providing much-needed right-handed power?
Hall of Fame talent still has speed and defense that could be helpful in a part-time role!
How often will Girardi be tempted to play a guy who’s everyday impact seems to have become a thing of the past?
No. 2 starter
The Yankees most consistent starting pitcher the past two seasons!
Is there any way for the 39-year-old to avoid a late-season decline (or a late-career drop off)?
No. 3 starter
One of the American League’s best starters in the second half of last season!
Was that strong finish just another tease, or has Nova found some much-needed consistency?
No. 4 starter
Looked as good as advertised during a dominant spring training!
As the league adjusts to Tanaka, will he be able to make adjustments of his own?
No. 5 starter
Lots of strikes and ground balls in an encouraging and healthy spring training!
After shoulder surgery, does Pineda still have the arm and durability to be an impact starter?
Cut back on walks to become one of the game’s top late-inning relievers the past three years!
How will the move to the ninth inning impact a guy who’s saved a total of eight big league games in his career?
Presumed setup man
Emerged from obscurity with big strikeout totals last season!
Was last year’s diminished second half a sign of things to come for a guy who was DFA by Seattle just last year?
Top left hander
Former late-inning all-star steps into a should-be-easier role as the primary bullpen lefty!
With his strikeout totals slipping significantly, can he be trusted as anything more than a lefty specialist?
Strong rookie season essentially guaranteed a roster spot, but he pitched well this spring just for good measure!
How will he respond to what should be a more significant role in his second big league season?
Once highly touted prospect seems to have put it all together since moving into the bullpen!
Can he maintain command and consistency while being seriously tested in the big leagues for the first time?
Second lefty/long man
Definite diamond in the rough pitched well in his first big league action a year ago!
Is he helped by a small sample size, or can his mix of offspeed pitches get reliable results against big league hitters?
Associated Press photos