At his first press conference of the spring, Yankees manager Joe Girardi repeated the same number four times. He utilized the number as a reminder of his team’s pedigree, as an emblem of their fortitude and as a refresher on the expectations for 2013.

“We won 95 games last year,” he said. “We had the best record in the American League.”

“Last year, we were ‘old,’” he said. “And we won 95 games. This team has a lot of character.”

“I think people thought that we were vulnerable last year,” he said. “And we found a way to win 95 games.”

“This team could win 95 games, and win the World Series,” he said.

The last answer came to a question about a “snapshot” to prediction this team’s potential. Girardi reminded the reporters gathered that the team’s goals have not changed. He insisted this despite the loss of valuable contributors like Nick Swisher and Russell Martin.

When asked to explain his confidence in the team’s ability, Girardi delivered a lengthy response.

“Because there’s a lot of talent in that room. I’ve heard a lot of discussions about ‘The Yankees didn’t make a big free-agent splash this year.’ Well, we didn’t necessarily, outside of the people that we were already aware of, that were important parts of our club.

“If Hiroki Kuroda was a Dodger last year, and signed with us, we’d say ‘That’s a pretty good sign.’ If Andy Pettitte was an Astro, and we signed him back, that would have been a pretty big sign. If Mariano Rivera was – I don’t know where Mo would have been – but if he was somewhere else, and we signed the greatest closer of all-time, that’s a pretty big time.

“Sometimes, with the people that we’ve signed, we overlook them because we’ve been around them so much. Those are pretty big signings. I know they’re not long-term deals. But they’re extremely important for our club. So I believe we’re still a very talented club.