Yankees move into new Stadium

The Associated PressApril 3, 2009 

Derek Jeter stepped out of the dugout and gazed up at those massive grandstands, five booming decks of blue-and-white splendor reaching high into a clear Bronx sky.

Welcome home. This is the new Yankee Stadium.

"It's a lot better than I think anyone even expected," Jeter said. "You know, I tried to come here, not ask too many questions about it, just wanted to experience it for the first time. But this is -- it's pretty unbelievable."

The Yankees moved into their fancy new digs Thursday, working out at the $1.5 billion ballpark before a dazzled crowd of 20,070.

The place is a baseball palace, with modern luxuries everywhere for players and fans alike. But it's also a tribute to history, featuring familiar characteristics from the old Yankee Stadium that opened in 1923.

Monument Park is directly behind the center-field fence, beneath the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar. The famous frieze rings the upper deck, a replica of the original ballpark roof that was removed during a mid-1970s renovation.

"The stands, obviously, are a lot bigger than the old stadium, but I think they did a tremendous job incorporating qualities from the old stadium into this one," Jeter said. "I think everyone was amazed at how big the stadium is."

REDS END FLORIDA STAY: It started with boos from a sparse crowd of 2,935 at Ed Smith Stadium and ended on an eighth-inning run set up by a balk. Not how the Cincinnati Reds wanted their Florida finale to go.

Fans booed Sarasota Mayor Lou Ann Palmer before Cincinnati's final spring training game in Florida, and the Reds wrapped up a dozen years in the town with a 6-5 loss to a Pittsburgh Pirates split squad on Thursday.

Taxpayers and politicians declined to commit money to upgrade the facilities the Past few years, prompting the Reds to move to Goodyear, Ariz., next spring.

The final game featured five combined errors and ended after a balk by Nick Masset set up Kent Sakamoto's tiebreaking single.

REDS HAVE LIMITED INTEREST IN SHEFFIELD: Manager Dusty Baker said Thursday that he's interested in adding Gary Sheffield -- a friend for many years -- to the Cincinnati Reds' roster. The trouble is that he can't offer regular playing time to the 40-year-old free agent, who is hoping for a full-time job and a multiyear deal.

"I don't even know if we're in the running or not," Baker said. "He wants playing time."

TWINS' LIRIANO WILL START OPENING DAY: Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Baker was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with shoulder stiffness and will miss his scheduled opening day start.

Left-hander Francisco Liriano will take the mound for Minnesota on opening day on Monday against the Seattle Mariners,.

JORGE SOSA RETURNING: Washington Nationals right-hander Jorge Sosa finally received his visa and will participate in extended spring training in Viera, Fla. Sosa was given a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball in August after testing positive for an amphetamine -- considered a performance-enhancing substance -- while pitching for Triple-A Tacoma in the Seattle Mariners' organization. He signed a minor league deal with the Nationals in December.

STREET WINS ROCKIES' CLOSER JOB: Huston Street is taking over the closer role for the Colorado Rockies.

The right-hander, part of a November trade with the Oakland Athletics involving for Matt Holliday, was appointed Colorado's closer before the Rockies' 7-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

SUZUKI OUT WITH FATIGUE: Ichiro Suzuki was sidelined for the third straight day with fatigue and was examined by a doctor Thursday while his Seattle Mariners teammates routed the San Diego Padres 18-3 in Peoria, Ariz. Suzuki, who returned from the World Baseball Classic on March 26, was lightheaded earlier in the week.

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