HOUSTON -- The last time the Yankees had to keep the lights off at Yankee Stadium in the fall, they responded by adding more than $400 million in payroll and watched a revamped roster of stars bring home the 2009 World Series championship.
They went back to that playbook after posting an 85-win, third-place finish last year, and as the Yankees prepare to send out a lineup that is highlighted by Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, there is a similar urgency to getting back on top.
"I think it has a lot of the same feel," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think there's a lot of high expectation with the names that we've added. We addressed a lot of situations because of all the things that we went [through] last year, and it's a lot of the same feelings."
"I know what we went through, and how tough of a year it was last year in terms of not being able to make the playoffs," left-hander CC Sabathia said. "It was disappointing. You work extra hard to put yourself in a position to win games and put yourself back where you want to be, and that starts off with trying to win the division."
Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran account for $283 million in new payroll commitments, and the Yankees also gave a seven-year, $155 million contract to right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson will also make their Yankees debuts on Tuesday.
"I don't know if it has anything to do with last year, but as a group right here, right now, we expect to do good things and get into the playoffs," McCann said.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he was encouraged by the club's spring.
"I feel as good as you can in terms of 'mission accomplished,' getting through Spring Training with what you wanted to get through," Cashman said. "You saw what you wanted to see from most people."