Johnson, Posada set to play in opener

Updated: April 3, 2010, 8:33 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

The New York Yankees will be playing with a full deck when they open their season Sunday night against the Boston Red Sox.

The defending World Series champions got a quadruple dose of good news on the eve of their season opener, announcing Jorge Posada, Nick Johnson, Damaso Marte and Alfredo Aceves, all of whom suffered dings and aches in the final days of spring training, will be fit and ready to play on Sunday at Fenway Park. In addition, Posada's backup, Francisco Cervelli, declared his sore hamstring much improved and expects to be ready for Opening Day.

The most worrisome injury was the bone bruise suffered by Johnson, the injury-prone DH who left Friday's game against the Orioles after fouling a pitch off his right knee in the first inning.

Johnson, who has served no fewer than eight stints on the disabled list in his eight major-league seasons, needed to be helped off the field by assistant trainer Steve Donahue and was seen hobbling around the clubhouse after the game with his knee wrapped.

"He feels OK today,'' manager Joe Girardi said after expressing concern about Johnson's availability for the opener on Friday. "He should be OK [Sunday].''

Johnson was held out of Saturday's spring finale against a team made up of Yankees minor league prospects, but is expected to be in the starting lineup against Boston. So, too, is Posada, who missed two days with a stiff neck but played in Saturday's game.

Marte, who on Friday had a "cranky'' left shoulder he said was unrelated to the shoulder injury that hampered him in 2009, said he felt better on Saturday. He was scheduled to play catch in preparation to accompany the team to Boston.

Aceves, who had been troubled by a stiff lower back, pitched a pain-free, eight-pitch inning in a minor league game on Friday.

Marte's improvement ended left-handed reliever Boone Logan's quest to make the team. He was optioned to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre, as was left-hander Royce Ring on Friday.

In an expected move, reserve outfielder Marcus Thames was officially added to the 25-man roster.

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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