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Outlook: Nova's starting spot in jeopardy in 2013

These aren't your mother's Yankees.

They can still mash, though.

Long gone are the days of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig or Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. The days of Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez are on hold for now, too.

Despite being miles away from full strength, the Yankees' lineup has churned out runs at ease lately, including 25 in the first two contests of a four-game series with the Indians that resumes Wednesday night.

Ivan Nova will start for the Yankees while the Indians announced that Corey Kluber will make his 2013 debut. He gets the start after originally scheduled starter Brett Myers had to pitch 5 1/3 innings in relief on Tuesday, allowing seven runs and three of the Yankees' five homers.  

"There's something about that organization and that team," said Indians first baseman Nick Swisher, who spent the last four years with the Yankees. "When you put that uniform on, when you're on that other side, you better be bringing your 'A' game regardless of who is on the field."

The middle of the Yankees' order might not resemble "Murderer's Row," but the club's replacement players have more than held their own. Travis Hafner jump-started the Yankees' 11-run outburst in Cleveland on Monday with a first-inning, three-run homer against his former team. The designated hitter is batting .333 this season.

Kevin Youkilis, signed as a free agent over the winter, is hitting .367. Vernon Wells, acquired in a trade with the Angels prior to the start of the season, is batting .360.

"They've been great at the start of the season," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You talk about these guys and maybe they weren't expected to hit exactly where they have in the lineup, but these are guys who have experience in those positions, and because of some of the injuries, they've moved up a little bit and they've done a good job for us."

The trio has seemingly ignited the top of the order. Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano had been scuffling, but Gardner tallied four hits, three runs and two RBIs on Tuesday. Cano raised his average to .303 with four hits, and the second baseman slugged his third homer in two games.

"Anytime you can get everybody in an order contributing, it really helps out," Girardi said. "You don't have to rely on a couple of guys. It makes it harder to navigate through a lineup. they can't just say, 'We're going to pitch around a couple of guys.'"

Yankees: Skipper seeking innings from Nova

Girardi isn't asking the world of Nova. Just a lengthy start.

Nova, slated to pitch in Cleveland on Wednesday, lasted only 4 2/3 innings in his first start of the season. In that effort, he surrendered four runs on five hits as he took the loss in an 8-3 defeat to the Tigers.

"To me, the important thing is that he gives us the distance and that he gets back to doing what he's capable of doing," Girardi said. "He really had to fight to get through what he got through and did a pretty good job fighting through it, for sure. It's like for [Hiroki] Kuroda. You'd like to see a cleaner 5 1/3 innings. That's the thing. You want to see him be good like we've seen him before."

Nova won a combined 28 games the last two years, totaling at least 165 innings each season.

Indians: Cleveland shuffles catchers

The Indians jumbled their crop of catchers on Tuesday.

Carlos Santana is day to day with a bruised thumb and will likely miss a few games. He sat out Tuesday's tilt against the Yankees. Backup Lou Marson landed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.

So to replenish their catching arsenal, the Indians promoted Yan Gomes and Omir Santos to the big league club.

"It's exciting," Gomes said, "especially being around these guys in Spring Training and just seeing how much fun they're having. I'm excited to come out here and have a good time."

Worth noting

• On Monday, Hafner became the second player in Major League history to hit a homer in his first at-bat in his first game played against a team for which he previously hit at least 200 homers. Frank Thomas first accomplished the feat as a member of the Athletics against his former White Sox mates in 2006.

• Indians manager Terry Francona holds a record of 81-80 in his career against the Yankees.

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