New-look Yankees, stadium ready for opener

Steinbrenner Field to unveil $40 million facelift Friday

New-look Yankees, stadium ready for opener

TAMPA, Fla. -- As the ongoing renovation of George M. Steinbrenner Field continues, a remodeled Yankees lineup will be on display for the first time this season on Friday as New York hosts the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he plans to have his frontline lineup on the field for the Grapefruit League opener, sans outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who reported late to camp so he could be present for the birth of his daughter.

The opener comes just five days after the Yankees held their first full-squad workout, and Girardi says the quick turnaround could give more reps to up-and-coming prospects like outfielder Clint Frazier, and infielders Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres.

"We haven't been this young in a long time; probably not since maybe 1996," Girardi said. "There were a lot of young players, there was a lot of success, there were a lot of championships that followed. I think it's going to be a very exciting year."

Bryan Mitchell draws the first Grapefruit League start for the Yankees, opposed by Philadelphia's Alec Asher.

Mitchell fires seven scoreless

Girardi's new-look roster will have a ballpark to match, as Steinbrenner Field has been undergoing a $40 million facelift. Fans will be eager to get their first glimpses of renovations that include new lounges, cabanas and pavilions, an updated main entrance and a two-story gift shop.

Those changes are being made as the Yankees eye new ways to compete in the American League East. Brett Gardner, now the team's longest-tenured player, said he believes the Yankees can feature a more athletic and aggressive brand of ball this year.

"We'll see how everything shakes out over the course of Spring Training, but I think we're capable of scoring runs in some different ways, maybe not so dependent on the two- and three-run homer," Gardner said.

"We've lost some big bats out of the middle of our lineup the last couple of years, and we've obviously got guys that are ready to fill in and try to step into their shoes. It's up to us to get on base and make things happen."

Bombers bits
With Didi Gregorius participating in the World Baseball Classic, the Yankees plan to have a rotating cast of characters taking reps at shortstop this spring. Girardi listed Jorge Mateo, Ruben Tejada, Ronald Torreyes, Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade among those who will see time at the position. Torreyes and Wade may also play some outfield, though Girardi said the Yankees are not ready to do so with Mateo, who took some fly balls in the Instructional League.

"In talking with the organization, we'd like to get him more work out there before we put him in a game," Girardi said of Mateo, the team's No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. "You're going to see him at short and second. He's got all the tools to play out there, [but he needs] experience."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.