The Yankees start their quest for their 28th World Championship on Sunday night. It really can’t come soon enough. Below you’ll find 28 reasons why myself and columnist Matt Vereb think the Yankees will once again, hoist the trophy in November.

1. Gene Monohan Not Needed?- With all due respect to the ailing trainer Gene Monohan, the Yankees would not have needed him this spring. Sure the team had a few bumps and bruises (Teixeira, Aceves), but the bad knees and noodle arms left via free agency this winter. The team is younger, more athletic, and most importantly, healthier. In 2008, the Yankees had both Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera coming off injury. This year, the team was extremely fortunate to not have any injuries to deal with. Sorry, Met fans.

2. A-Rod on Opening Day is A-OK– This year, A-Rod will be starting on Opening Day instead of May 8th. He will help his own numbers, Teixeira’s numbers, and the team’s winning percentage. He will be one of many Yankees vying for 2010 MVP.

3. Weaknesses?– Does this team have any glaring weaknesses? No, they don’t. Some will attempt to be really picky and single out Brett Gardner, but I’ll live with his 84% success rate stealing bases and his .345 OBP (better than league average) in the 9th spot.

4. Slow Start – In April, Mark Teixiera hit .200 with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs. He went on to hit .292/39/122. The difference? No A-Rod protection. With a healthy A-Rod, expect a faster start from Teix on his way to an MVP season.

5. 4- Number of seasons CC Sabathia has had an ERA under 3.40. Sabathia is the work horse for this rotation. The team’s success depends upon the big guy.

6. Bomb Squad- Last year, the Yankees led all of the major leagues with 244 home runs. After all the jeering about how small the new Yankee Stadium is and how any team would have done that, I’d simply point out that the Bronx Bombers hit 108 of them on the road, second only to the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Expect very similar power numbers in 2010 for the Yankees.

7. Changing Things Up?– Both Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett have developed change-ups this off-season. Each pitcher has an impressive repertoire of pitches (fastball, curve ball, slider). Adding the change could be a game-changer.

8. Ribbys for Robby?– Last year, Robinson Cano hit for a .320 average and a .352 OBP. However, with runners in scoring position, those numbers plummeted to .207/.242. That is an anomaly if I’ve ever seen one. Batting 5th this year, I think Cano will drive in at least 110 runs.

9. 10.8– The overall improvement to the outfield’s UZR with the addition of Curtis Granderson. We all know that Damon (-9.2 UZR in 2009) was awful. Granderson posted a 1.6 UZR in 2009. He collectively picked up 27.9 UZR points in 2006 and 2007, so he does have the potential to be special again in a considerably smaller park.

10.Hot Dog JohnnyCurtis Granderson is also a huge upgrade over Johnny Damon offensively, not just defensively. Damon hit .282/24/82 last year. If Damon can manage that with the short porch in right, we can reasonably expect at least 30 HRs out of Grandy this year.

11. Putting the Bull back in the Pen– Joba Chamberlain returns to his rightful place in 2010. Joba has posted a 1.50 ERA as a reliever with a K/9 Ratio of 12. Let’s just hope that his velocity returns to 2007, 2008 levels.

12. Welcome Back– In his last year  (2003) with the Yanks, Nick Johnson had an OBP of .428. He looked to be a fixture in the Yankees’ infield, until he was traded for, ironically, Javy Vazquez. Johnson will be expected to hit second and play DH. I expect him to have a year as a mix between Nick Swisher and Johnny Damon.

13. 180– The fewest number of innings CC Sabathia has ever thrown in one season during his nine year career. The guy is a big, durable dude. Injury concerns should be small.

14. Got Melky? No Problem!Brett Gardner managed 26 stolen bases last year playing in only 108 games due to injury and Melky Cabrera. Look for at least 50 steals for Gardner this year as he makes many forget about the Melk-Man.

15. 238– The number of strike outs Javier Vazquez recorded with the Atlanta Braves last season. Some are a little skeptical about the Vazquez signing(14-10; 4.95 ERA in 2004 with NYY), but should be more relaxed this time around. Vazquez will also benefit from having two top pitchers ahead of him in the rotation.

16. O Captain, My CaptainDerek Jeter hit for his best average and home run total since 2005. The Captain proved last year, and will continue to this year, that he will retire as a successful Yankee.

17. Serving a Meat Tray?– Pitcher Sergio Mitre has had a very good Spring Training. In 22 innings he has yielded only 8 runs, issued 4 walks and struck out 20. I typically don’t take Spring Training stats very seriously, but in a competition, they cannot be ignored.  The Yankees were so impressed with Mitre that they waived pitcher Chad Gaudin to solidify his spot in the bullpen.

18. The Swish HawkNick Swisher was thrilled to be a Yankee last year, and frankly, why wouldn’t he be? He escaped the White Sox bench and found his way into the Yankee lineup. He had the 21st best OBP last year in the AL. Not elite, certainly, but he provides the spark to the Yankees that you can only expect from someone as gritty as the Swish Hawk.

19. Bullpen Strength– We covered that topic here. It’s worth a re-read.

20. Hip Hip Jorge!– Reason #20 is for #20, Jorge Posada. He only played 110 games last year, but still managed 22 home runs. More importantly, he faced no major injuries. If he can have similar production batting 6th again this year, Francisco Cervelli can pick up the slack on days he takes off. Where Cervelli lacks with raw talent he more than makes up with great hustle.

21. Waking Up in Vegas?– The Odds Makers have pegged the Yankees as a 3:1 overall favorite to repeat.

22. Trenton Makes, the Bronx Takes– Last year, Francisco Cervelli was batting .190 in the Yankees’ AA-affiliate Trenton Thunder when he was called up to serve as backup to Jose Molina. When Molina went down, Cervelli stepped in and the Yanks didn’t miss a beat. He batted .283 last year in limited opportunities. With more big league experience, that average could jump to around .300.

23. 23– The total number of World Series rings owned by Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and manager Joe Girardi. This team knows what it takes to win and has the gaudy hardware to show for it.

24. Yet Another Reunion TourMarcus Thames made his big league debut with the Yankees in 2002. The next year, he was traded to the Rangers. After spending five years in the Detroit Tigers’ organization, he is joining Javy Vazquez and Nick Johnson as former Yankees to come back and play in the Bronx. He will be a solid corner outfielder and will give the Yankees something they didn’t have last year: a righty on the bench who can hit for power.

25. A Walk In The Park?- The Yankees surprised a lot of people by signing Chan Ho Park to a 1-year deal. Park fills a number of potential voids that the Yankees may have during the season. He can start, relieve, close, set-up, and probably work the score board between pitches. Another great Cashman pick up.

26. Selective Stealing– In 2009, the Yankees stole 111 bases, good for 7th in the majors. However, all six teams above the Yankees in stolen bases got caught stealing more often than the Yanks did. Bottom line? The Yankees don’t need to steal as many as the Rays, because the Yankees have the power to drive in the runs. However, when the opportunity presents itself, the Yankees can get around the bases.

27.The Architect– Last year, Brian Cashman picked up C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeria, and Nick Swisher. All were huge components of the Yankees winning the 2009 World Series. Who in this year’s class will be remembered? Curtis Granderson and Javy Vazquez for sure, but a dark horse will be the aforementioned Chan Ho Park.

28. Mariano Rivera– Need we say anymore?

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