Shiny new season, bitter old rivalry: Yankees, Red Sox open in Boston

Baseball opens tonight with a bang: Yankees vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park (8:05 ET, ESPN2). Sizing up the rivals:

What’s changed

Yankees: In a nod toward youth, New York replaced aging World Series heroes Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon with DH Nick Johnson and center fielder Curtis Granderson. In an attempt to improve its pitching, the club swapped the roles of its top two young hurlers, with Phil Hughes joining the rotation and Joba Chamberlain heading to the bullpen. 

Red Sox: Pitching and defense will be vital after the departure of Jason Bay and the arrival of John Lackey and a trio of plus defenders: center fielder Mike Cameron, third baseman Adrian Beltre and shortstop Marco Scutaro. 

What hasn’t changed

Yankees: Their payroll remains No. 1, as does their standing in Sporting News’ power poll. 

Red Sox: After splitting 18 games last year, they still are seeking their first season-series victory over the Yankees since 2004.

This story appears in the April 4 edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only sports digital daily, sign up today.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

Baseball opens tonight with a bang: Yankees vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park (8:05 ET, ESPN2). Sizing up the rivals:

What’s changed

Yankees: In a nod toward youth, New York replaced aging World Series heroes Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon with DH Nick Johnson and center fielder Curtis Granderson. In an attempt to improve its pitching, the club swapped the roles of its top two young hurlers, with Phil Hughes joining the rotation and Joba Chamberlain heading to the bullpen. 

Red Sox: Pitching and defense will be vital after the departure of Jason Bay and the arrival of John Lackey and a trio of plus defenders: center fielder Mike Cameron, third baseman Adrian Beltre and shortstop Marco Scutaro. 

What hasn’t changed

Yankees: Their payroll remains No. 1, as does their standing in Sporting News’ power poll. 

Red Sox: After splitting 18 games last year, they still are seeking their first season-series victory over the Yankees since 2004.

This story appears in the April 4 edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only sports digital daily, sign up today.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

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