Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees (52-33) at the All-Star Break

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees (52-33) at the All-Star Break

Article excerpt

If anything, these Yankees have been superbly resilient - withstanding injuries to key players from March through June while holding back the challengers in a young-and-improving AL East.

That's a testament to the depth assembled by general manager Brian Cashman and his staff, and to manager Joe Girardi's big- picture approach.

In turn, management's faith has been rewarded by a first-place club that owns the best record in baseball. Here's a review of the first half.

Team MVP

Robinson Cano is the one Yankee opposing managers absolutely want to avoid with the game on the line. The club's most dangerous hitter is also a Gold Glove second baseman, though his power, plate coverage and ability to neutralize lefty pitchers have set him apart.

Biggest underachiever

Russell Martin entered 2012 as a career .267 hitter, but he's batting .179 in 68 games in his free-agent walk year. Over the weekend in Boston, Girardi both pinch-hit for and benched Martin, who also has had some rough defensive moments despite being generally solid.

Best decision by the manager

Not force-feeding David Robertson into the closer's role. It was Robertson's job initially when Mariano Rivera was lost for 2012, but Robertson's month on the disabled list (oblique injury) enabled veteran Rafael Soriano to take over the role he prefers.

Worst decision by the manager

In retrospect, it would've been better to sit Mark Teixeira for an extended spring stretch when his bronchial infection and constant coughing jags morphed into inflamed vocal chords and impacted his performance. Still, Teixeira's 54 RBI leads the team.

Best moment

On April 21 at Fenway Park, the Yankees fell behind, 9-0, to the Red Sox -- only to rally back for a stunning 15-9 win. That tied a club record for the largest deficit overcome. And it sent shockwaves that still reverberate in Beantown: The Yanks are 5-1 versus Boston this season.

Worst moment

The sight of Mariano Rivera laying in agony on the Kauffman Stadium warning track, holding his right knee after he fell while in pursuit of a batting practice fly ball. A routine exercise on May 3 led to season-ending surgery. …

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