vernon wells

your last-week-before-Opening-Day team notes

AL BEast Notebook – March 26

Yankees and Red Sox start the season next Monday, Orioles and Rays play Tuesday, Blue Jays host the Indians on Tuesday. And the Rangers and Astros kick things off on Sunday. Things are coming down to the wire so decision time is NOW. Here’s what you need to know.

Yankees

- Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and (of course) Alex Rodriguez will start the season on the DL. Jeter could be back as soon as April 6, but may be out even three weeks longer. Teixeira and Granderson should be back in May, although Tex’s injury may be season-threatening.

- Yankees have acquired outfielder Vernon Wells from the Angels. There may be a couple players to be named later going to Anaheim, while the Yankees will only be stuck with about $13 million of Wells’ contract over the next two years. The commissioner has yet to finalize the deal and Wells still needs to pass a physical. Wells is slated to be the Yankees starting left fielder until Curtis Granderson returns. After that he will platoon with Hafner at DH, as well as be right handed relief for the three starting lefty outfielders.

Wells, 34, signed a huge contract extension prior to the 2007 season. Since then he has not recorded 90 RBI or 90 runs scored in any season and just once batted above .273. In 2010 he did have 31 homers and 44 doubles. He was traded by the Blue Jays to the Angels in 2011 and was terrible in two injury-plagued seasons.

- The WBC is reportedly responsible for Mark Teixeira’s salary while he is injured, so that frees up at least $7 million. That news showed up right around the time that the Wells’ talks got serious.

Red Sox

- David Ortiz and Stephen Drew will start the season on the DL. Jacoby Ellsbury sprained his ankle but says he’s fine.

- Lefty outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. improved his chances of making the Opening Day lineup when he hit a three-run homer off lefty Cliff Lee on Monday.

- With Lyle Overbay being released this morning and Ortiz starting on the DL, Jonny Gomes will likely start as the regular DH, making space for Bradley in left field, and Mike Carp will back up Mike Napoli at first base.

Orioles

- Wilson Betemit will start the season on the DL. Betemit has a grade 2 PCL tear and is out two months. Chris Tillman is likely to start the season on the DL.

- According to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli, Baltimore would need a fifth starter just once in the first three weeks of the season. Therefore, with Hammel, Chen, and Miguel Gonzalez, they could take it easy with Chris Tillman and use Jake Arrieta in early April.

Blue Jays

- Brett Lawrie will start the season on the DL. He is eligible to come back around April 6 but there is no timetable for his return yet.

The injury means that Emilio Bonifacio is likely to start at second base and Maicer Izturis and Mark DeRosa will fill in at third.

Rays

- No candidates for the disabled list, although Luke Scott was scratched with right calf tightness yesterday.

The Rays continue to be the quietest team in the preseason.