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Courtesy of: Daily News

Camp officially opens

Courtesy of: Daily News

It’s been a long, cold winter here in the northeast, but finally there’s something to keep us warm for a while – Yankees’ spring training has officially begun with the first workout scheduled to take place Saturday.

Pitchers and catchers reported in yesterday to the Yankees’ complex in Tampa, with some players even beginning workouts. Masahiro Tanaka threw to Francisco Cervelli in the bullpen, and impressed his new teammates and coaches. Derek Jeter continued his workouts, taking ground balls and some swings in the cage as he prepares for his final season. CC Sabathia arrived, having dropped close to 40 pounds, and threw lightly in the outfield.

The big competition in camp is going to be for the last spot in the rotation. Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Adam Warren and perhaps Vidal Nuno will all compete for the job. Many have said Pineda, who is finally healthy after a year of shoulder-rehab, looks to be in great shape and is perhaps the frontrunner.

The bullpen also has question marks, as David Robertson is expected to start the season as the full-time closer, leaving his eighth inning spot vacated. Dellin Betances, who was considered a top starting pitcher prospect, was moved to the bullpen last year where he experienced great success. The 6’8″ Betances will dress next to Sabathia with the hopes that the veteran will show the kid what it takes to make it in the big leagues.

Another member of the once “Killer B’s,” Manny Banuelos, is back in action after missing all of last year with Tommy John surgery. He’s reporting no pain in his elbow, and said he’s ready to get back on the field. Banuelos has an outside shot to make Joe Girardi‘s bullpen.

While the Yankees spent nearly half a billion dollars this offseason, they still have some holes. Who will play third? Who will play second? Who’s the backup first baseman if Mark Teixeira‘s wrist becomes a problem? The team hopes to figure everything out in the next month and a half before the season starts on April 1. The biggest challenge for this team will be to stay healthy. If they can, we could be in for a special year in the Bronx.