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Gardner lone lineup holdover from '13 opener

Gardner lone lineup holdover from '13 opener

HOUSTON -- As the Yankees turn the page from last season's third-place finish in the American League East and start a new hunt for championship No. 28, Brett Gardner was surprised to learn that he is the only holdover from the 2013 Opening Day batting order.

Gardner batted seventh and started in left field in manager Joe Girardi's order on Tuesday. Three hundred sixty-five days ago, he was joined in a lineup by Eduardo Nunez, Robinson Cano, Kevin Youkilis, Vernon Wells, Ben Francisco, Ichiro Suzuki, Jayson Nix and Francisco Cervelli. Only Ichiro and Cervelli remain on the active roster.

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"I haven't thought about that, but that's hard to believe," Gardner said. "There has definitely been a lot of turnover. I feel like all the new guys that they always bring in here really get along with everybody. Everybody fits in well together. We've got a great group of guys; I feel good about our team, and it's going to be a good year."

Aside from left-hander CC Sabathia, the Yankees have a completely different defensive alignment; Gardner was playing center field in last year's opener. This marks the first time that the Yankees have had completely different starters at each defensive position from one Opening Day to another since 1946 and '47.

"It's hard to believe there even was a last time for that," Gardner said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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