The Yankees have turned reclamation projects such as Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells into a 1.5 game lead over the Red Sox for first place in the American League East. They'll face the rival Orioles today as Hiroki Kuroda heads to the mound. Here's more on Kuroda and the Bronx Bombers for your Wednesday morning reading...
- Kuroda has quietly become one of the best free agent signings in Yankees history, writes Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. Kuroda wasn't even the top Yankees headline on the day he signed, Costa notes, as that contract came on the same day as the Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero trade. However, Kuroda's dominance on one-year deals with no long-term risk makes him an incredible value.
- The success of the non-Mariano Rivera members of the Yankees' bullpen will help Hal Steinbrenner come close to achieving his goal of getting under the $189MM luxury tax threshhold in 2014, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. David Robertson should have the first crack as Rivera's successor, but beyond his salary, the Yankees will have little in the way of payroll commitment in the bullpen. Rivera, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan all figure to be off the books, and the Yankees have solid in-house alternatives.
- David Adams is a rarity among the current crop of Yankees, writes Scott Cacciola of the New York Times, as he was drafted and developed by the organization rather than acquired via free agency or trade. Cacciola spoke with Adams and manager Joe Girardi about the 26-year-old's recent promotion.