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Rays vs. Yankees: New York Begins 2012 Season At Tampa Bay

The New York Yankees begins their quest for a 28th World Series Championship Friday, as they visit the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field (3:10 p.m. ET).

April 1, 2012; Miami, FL, USA;  New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) pitches in a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE
April 1, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) pitches in a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

The wait is over for New York Yankees fans. Their team returns to action Friday, as they visit the Tampa Bay Rays in an season-opening, American League East Division series at Tropicana Field (3:10 p.m. on YES Network). The Yankees will begin a quest to make the playoffs for 17 in their past 18 seasons, while the Rays will be seeking their fourth postseason appearance in five seasons.

On Friday, the Yankes and Rays will kick start their three-game series, which begins with a solid pitching match-up between CC Sabathia and James Shields. Last season, Sabathia was an 19-game winner, while Shields made the 2011 All-Star team.

New York enters the series healthy, as all of its veterans, including closer Mariano Rivera who's entering his 18th season, should be in the starting lineup. Meanwhile, the Rays will be without closer Kyle Farnsworth, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right elbow, and outfielder Sam Fuld, who will miss four-five months because of a wrist injury.

For more on the Yankees, check out the SB Nation blog Pinstripe Alley, while D-Rays Bay is all about the Rays.