Trenton Thunder pitcher Deivi Garcia throws a pitch during a game against the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin' Donuts Park. (Matt Eisenberg/SNY)
Trenton Thunder pitcher Deivi Garcia throws a pitch during a game against the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin' Donuts Park. (Matt Eisenberg/SNY)

Deivi Garcia jumping to No. 1 (while Estevan Florial slipped to No. 2) and stud international signing Jasson Dominguez coming in at No. 3 are just some of the changes on the new Yankees Top 10 prospects list that was released by MLB Pipeline.

Also of note: Albert Abreu dropped to No. 7 and Luis Gil jumped all the way from No. 13 to No. 4.

RHP Deivi Garcia, No. 1
OF Estevan Florial, No. 2
OF Jasson Dominguez, No. 3
RHP Luis Gil, No. 4
RHP Clarke Schmidt, No. 5
RHP Jonathan Loaisiga, No. 6 
RHP Albert Abreu, No. 7
RHP Yoendrys Gomez, No. 8
C Anthony Seigler, No. 9
OF Everson Pereira, No. 10

Garcia tore through Double-A this season and has put himself on the radar for a potential call-up this season, but has struggled since being promoted to Triple-A, with a 6.63 ERA and 1.63 FIP in 19.0 innings (four starts).

The Yankees held on to Garcia and all of their other most highly thought of prospects at the trade deadline, with GM Brian Cashman later claiminig that prices were too exorbitant to meet for any of the higher-end starting pitchers on the market.

While Cashman stood pat at the deadline, he was willing to trade Garcia as part of what he considered the right deal (such as one for Noah Syndergaard).

Dominguez has been called a "teenage Mike Trout" and his addition helped bolster a Yankees farm system that is viewed by most as a bottom-third system in the league. 

The Yankees' full new Top 30 can be viewed here.


RELATED: Here are the Yankees' updated odds to win World Series >> Read More

RELATED: Yankees continue to use injuries as rallying cry >> Read More

RELATED: Yankees Top Prospect Watch: Garcia struggling in Triple-A >> Read More

Tags: Albert Abreu, Estevan Florial, Danny Abriano
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Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) and manager Aaron Boone (17) talk works out during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) and manager Aaron Boone (17) talk works out during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Day 4 of Spring Training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, where the Yankees saw several pitchers get extended work on the field and sides Sunday morning and afternoon.

Chief among New York's arms in action was ace right-hander Gerrit Cole, who attracted a crowd and threw live batting practice, exiting the mound to cheers from fans on hand.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone met the media after the group's latest workout, doling out updates on Cole and a handful multiple other starters. Below are five takeaways from Boone's latest session.

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With the offseason closing, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred held his first press conference of the new year and his first since releasing the league's report on their investigation into the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

His opening statement on the Astros sign-stealing scandal...

"When we began our investigation after we became aware of the Houston situation, we started with an important and fundamental goal, and that goal was to make sure that we found the facts, completed the investigation, figured out what was going on and put ourselves in the position to be as transparent with our fans and the other clubs as possible."

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Gerrit Cole faced his first batters as a member of the Yankees on Sunday morning -- albeit they were his teammates -- and got a stand ovation from the crowd of fans in attendance after his final pitch of the day.

With the Yankees among the favorites to win the World Series this upcoming season, Cole is sure to play an integral part in that chase, and that all starts with spring training.

Cole said after the day that he's been communicating well with catcher Gary Sanchez and is learning from his new teammates.

Tags: Gary Sanchez
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Gerrit Cole spoke to reporters after facing live batters for the first time in Yankees gear Sunday morning, and discussed what it was like to really get some fresh work in with his new teammates and to see the New York fans.

On first real day of training with Gary Sanchez

"It was good. I thought Gary and I did some good work, we hit our target in terms of volume and I'm coming out of it feeling good, feeling pretty fresh. It was an exciting atmosphere today too, a little more adrenaline than usual."

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Jun 22, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; A general view of New York Yankees hat and glove laying in the dugout at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jun 22, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; A general view of New York Yankees hat and glove laying in the dugout at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Former Yankees and Mets infielder Tony Fernandez died on Saturday at the age of 57 after suffering a brain stroke that came with complications from polycystic kidney disease.

Fernandez is most notably known as a Blue Jays legend, winning four Gold Gloves, going to five All Star games and winning a World Series title during his time in Toronto, but he did spend two stints in New York -- in both Queens and The Bronx.

Leaving the Padres after two seasons, Fernandez joined the Mets in 1993, but the stay was short lived. After a disappointing start to the season, he was traded back up to Toronto, where he played a big role in the Blue Jays winning the World Series later that season.

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After undergoing surgery to remove a peridiscal cyst earlier this month, James Paxton will begin the season on the Yankees' injured list. 

The left-hander is expected to miss 3-4 months, but said on Saturday that he's optimistic he's going to have a quick recovery.

"It's all going to depend on how things go in this rehab process," Paxton said. "They told me 4-6 weeks before I can start throwing, so if we're on the closer side of that, that's going to put me two weeks closer to being on the mound. I'm thinking that I'll be back in a big league game some time in May."

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It was a busy day in Tampa, Fla. as Yankees pitchers and catchers continued to put work in on the practice fields.

Aroldis Chapman threw off a mound in the bullpen, under the watchful eye of both the coaching staff and some high-performance analysis cameras. 

Pitchers J.A. Happ and David Hale threw off of flat ground in the outfield, while Luis Serverino and Gerrit Cole were put through the paces of pitcher fielding practice, a time-honored Spring Training tradition.

Finally, Gary Sanchez took some swings in the cage while Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman looked on.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, David Hale, J.A. Happ, Luis Severino
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Yankees manager Aaron Boone spoke at spring training in Tampa, Fla. on Saturday to discuss Chad Green's role this season along with how Gary Sanchez looks and the depth of the team's catchers behind him.

On Chad Green's role in 2020

"I don't know if I envision [his role] as being different. With Greeny, he brings a lot to the table being a multi-inning reliever. We've used him in the opener scenarios. We've even toyed with him as a starter. But he can be one of our high-leverage set-up guys, as well. I feel like his versatility to gives us an edge to our blend down there. He's kind of our Swiss Army knife. He can fill a lot of roles down there and that's really how I see him."

Tags: Chad Green, Gary Sanchez
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Oct 27, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) and second baseman Jose Altuve (27) celebrate after beating the Washington Nationals in game five of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Oct 27, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) and second baseman Jose Altuve (27) celebrate after beating the Washington Nationals in game five of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

While MLB's investigation of the Astros only confirmed electronic sign-stealing efforts in 2017, many have pointed to Jose Altuve adamantly insisting that his teammates not rip off his jersey after his ALCS-clinching home run against the Yankees as proof the scheme hadn't stopped.

But in an interview with The Athletic released on Saturday, shortstop Carlos Correa offered a new, albeit puzzling, explanation.

Correa was responding to comments made by reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger, who blasted Altuve for stealing an MVP from Aaron Judge in 2017, along with pointing to the controversy surrounding his home run off of Aroldis Chapman to send the Astros to the World Series in 2019.

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Jul 26, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chad Bettis (35) throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)
Jul 26, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chad Bettis (35) throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports (David Kohl)

The Yankees have signed right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis, according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports that Bettis will head to Yankees camp on a minor-league deal.

Bettis, who turns 31 in April, has pitched his entire big-league career with the Rockies, debuting in 2013. His best season came in 2016, when the right-hander made 32 starts, going 14-8 with a 4.70 ERA.

But after a testicular cancer diagnosis that offseason, Bettis missed most of that season, returning in August to make nine starts. He went 2-4 with a 5.05 ERA.

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On Friday, SNY's MLB Insider Andy Martino sat down with Yankees manager Aaron Boone for an exclusive interview to talk about the upcoming season.

During the 2019 season, Gio Urshela started 109 games at third base for the Yanks with 24-year-old Miguel Andujar sidelined for most of the season. With Andujar coming back from an injury-filled season, Martino asked Boone if Urshela is locked in as the starter at third base for the Bombers in 2020.

"I think to some degree we're always in competition," Boone said. "We feel like Gio has shown himself to be our third baseman. And what he's able to do on both sides of the ball. He's also got to continue to go out there and earn those regular at-bats. Because we feel, like obviously, we have a lot of capable people that when guys fall off a little bit, there's going to be a fight for playing time."

Tags: Gio Urshela, Miguel Andujar
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Brian Cashman took the time to speak with reporters on Friday afternoon at Yankees spring training in Tampa, Fla., and discussed his thoughts on the different aspects of the Houston Astros cheating scandal.

His reaction to Astros' apologies

"It's best for us now to start moving forward. What has happened in the past, obviously we're upset, our ownership's upset, our front office is upset, our players that were with us in '17 especially were upset, and understandably so. And there's nothing really to do about that at this stage and going forward. It's healthiest for the game as we move forward and focus on the present and the future and try to leave the past in the past, and the people that are responsible for this conversation that's being forced to be covered and take place, to answer for it and discuss it more so than us. I think it's probably the healthiest thing to do."

"Obviously we work very hard to try create a window of winning and there's no guarantee how long those windows are open, so we're still focused on trying to push through that final tier of our window of opportunity and our efforts to become a world champion again."

Tags: Carlos Beltran
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Yankees manager Aaron Boone spoke at spring training in Tampa, Fla. on Friday afternoon about this season's high expectations, Gary Sanchez's health, his impressions of pitching prospect Deivi Garcia and more.

On what makes him think J.A. Happ can have a bounce-back season

"One, track record. Two, I think when we do a little bit of digging, and this is something we try and communicate with J.A., that the results weren't as good as we feel like he threw the ball last year. And I think if you look at a lot of his outings last year, it felt like there were a number of times that he was pitching really well and then maybe a long ball got him and kind of wrecked the outing a little bit for him. We obviously feel like he threw the ball well down the stretch for us, and even in the playoffs."

"Feel like the work he's done this winter has put him in a good position and comes in at a really good place that I fully expect him to be the J.A. Happ we've seen most of his career."

Happ struggled in his first full season in New York, finishing 2019 12-8 with a 4.91 ERA and 34 home runs allowed in 161.1 innings pitched.

Tags: Gary Sanchez
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Dodgers center fielder and reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger did not hold back when making comments Friday morning on the Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

Bellinger was a member of the Dodgers team that fell to the Astros in the 2017 World Series after seven games, and he feels cheated, to say the least.

"I thought the apologies were whatever. I thought Jim Crane's was weak. (Robert) Manfred's punishment was weak, giving them immunity. I mean these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don't realize is (Jose) Altuve stole an MVP from (Aaron) Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us," Bellinger said to reporters at Dodgers spring training.

Tags: Aaron Judge
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Aug 14, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 14, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ (34) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

J.A. Happ is happy to still be a part of the Yankees organization heading into spring training and the upcoming 2020 season, considering there was the possibility of his being moved after the team signed Gerrit Cole to a monster $324 million contract.

Speaking to reporters down in Tampa, Fla., Happ said he reached out to Yankees GM Brian Cashman during the offseason in the midst of the trade rumors swirling around him.

"I understand that that's kind of the nature of the business. But I'm certainly happy I'm here," Happ said. "...This is the place I'd like to be, for sure."

Happ said he texted Cole "Hopefully we're teammates again" once he signed with the Yankees back in December -- the pitchers were both members of the Pirates back in 2015.

Tags: J.A. Happ
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Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole (Danielle Parhizkaran)

MLB Network counted down their top 100 players in baseball right now, and the Yankees' new ace cracked the top 10.

Gerrit Cole, who signed to a massive nine-year, $324 million deal with the Bronx Bombers this offseason, came in at number 7 on the list, the highest rated pitcher, coming in exactly one spot ahead of back-to-back Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom.

The right-hander's lucrative contract was warranted, though, as he's been one of the most dominating pitchers in the game over the past two years, while also winning 19 games and making the All-Star Game as a Pirate in 2015.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, J.A. Happ, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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The hot topic as Yankees pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Tampa, Fla. continues to be the team's reaction to the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal and the fallout that's come with it. 

Everyone on the Yankees from Aaron Boone to Gary Sanchez to Aroldis Chapman has weighed in on the issue, and now the real question becomes: how long will these questions continue to linger?

SNY's Andy Martino and Sweeny Murti discussed that very question on Thursday in Tampa, with Murti saying it makes sense that pitchers and catchers have been so frustrated by the scandal.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Gary Sanchez
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Newest Yankee Gerrit Cole may not have been a part of the Astros during the 2017 season where they were found guilty of sign-stealing by MLB, but there is still the notion that it continued up until last year. 

Cole spent the past two seasons down in Houston, so in his first spring training presser on Thursday, it was a given that he would be asked what he knew about the situation while it was happening. 

But he said he wasn't aware it was going on at all with his team. 

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Gerrit Cole is getting all the spotlight down at Yankees spring training, but a very valuable piece of the rotation is his right-hand man in Luis Severino

The Yankees' No. 2 had a very strong return despite it only being a handful of games at the end of the regular season and postseason. Severino is hoping to build off those appearances this season, and it all started with his first spring training workout on Thursday. 

Check out Severino getting some throws in alongside Adam Ottavino and Jordan Montgomery to name a few...

Tags: Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino
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Going back and forth with his answers on Thursday morning, Astros owner Jim Crane told reporters that he didn't believe his team's sign stealing during the 2017 season in which Houston won the World Series affected the Yankees. 

Manager Aaron Boone may not have been at the helm until the 2018 season, but even he knows that comment is simply insane to make. 

"I think that's quite a stretch," he said with a smile. "On what level did it impact things, I guess we will never know and that's for people to draw their own conclusions on. Clearly when we're talking about some of the things that went on, those things have an effect on games."

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Somewhere, CC Sabathia just put his foot through a TV. 

Astros owner Jim Crane, along with new manager Dusty Baker and players Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, addressed the sign-stealing scandal for the first time at their spring training facility in Florida on Thursday morning.

And Yankees fans -- even the players themselves -- won't like what he said. 

Tags: CC Sabathia, Scott Thompson
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Feb 12, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) arrives as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 12, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) arrives as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Yankees know they will be without James Paxton to start the regular season, as he had surgery to remove a cyst from his back before the start of spring training. The initial recovery time was three-to-four months, and Paxton provided an update on Thursday. 

Paxton said he can start throwing again in four-to-six weeks, while that three-to-four month timeframe before he can get into a game remains the same. May or June is the target, but Paxton said he is shooting for May. 

"Big Maple" went into detail about why it took so long for him to undergo surgery for the cyst.

Doctors didn't know there was a cyst, but he pitched through it anyway during the 2019 postseason. It was in November when Paxton began feeling pain down his left leg, which was treated with injections, and it wasn't until January that doctors figured out what was ailing him. 

Tags: J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Scott Thompson
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When Jose Altuve hit a 2-1 slider from Aroldis Chapman out of the ballpark in Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS in Houston to send the Astros to the World Series, a wry smile came across Chapman's face.

Nearly four months later, in the wake of the Astros sign-stealing scandal that has rocked the baseball world, two questions come to mind:

Did Altuve know what was coming, and did he refuse to allow his teammates to rip his jersey off during the home plate celebration because there was a buzzer underneath it?

Speaking Thursday at Yankees camp in Tampa, Chapman called Altuve's behavior after hitting the home run "suspicious."

Tags: Aroldis Chapman
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Back in front of the media for the first press conference since the 2019 season ended, Yankees manager Aaron Boone was an open book Wednesday morning. As the Yankees started to arrive at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, for pitchers' and catchers' report date, Spring Training is underway with Thursday's first workout.

The Yankees get back on the diamond after an eventful offseason, one that saw New York sign ace right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole to a historic $324 million deal for nine years, while the Houston Astros' electronic sign-stealing scandal lingers. Boone addressed both Cole and the Astros at multiple points during the start-of-spring availability.

Elsewhere in the session, Boone brought the media up to speed on an abundance of team-related questions that loomed from the offseason. Along those lines, below are six takeaways from Boone's presser delving into the statuses of several key players.

Tags: Domingo German, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, James Paxton, Jordan Montgomery, Miguel Andujar
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Feb 12, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) throws as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 12, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) throws as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Luis Severino returned in time to make an impact on the Yankees down the stretch of the 2019 season and into the playoffs, but the two-time All-Star from 2017-18 is looking for more with a clean slate for 2020.

After missing the first five and a half months of last year, starting on the 10-day injured list March 25 with right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation and a Grade 2 lat strain, the combination of the two ailments moved him to the 60-day injured list April 25.

But Severino came back to make three regular-season starts Sept. 17, 22 and 28, going 1-1 with a 1.50 earned-run average and 17 strikeouts to six walks in 12.0 innings pitched. As he hits the reset button, Severino has one goal on his mind.

Tags: Luis Severino
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Feb 12, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws during a bullpen session as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 12, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) throws during a bullpen session as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Yankees pitchers and catchers had their first workout down in Tampa on Wednesday, but all eyes were focused on one pitcher in particular: Gerrit Cole

Wearing his No. 45 jersey and new Yankees cap, Cole threw a light, 25-pitch bullpen session to Gary Sanchez. And though it wasn't anything special, the fact that Cole was wearing the pinstripes is still a sight to see. 

"The kind of work that he has done the last couple of years has been unreal," Sanchez told reporters. "So to have that opportunity to add someone like him, one of the best in the game, to our team makes us much stronger.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Scott Thompson
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His players addressed the Astros' sign-stealing scandal down at the Yankees' facility in Tampa, and manager Aaron Boone to do the same as his squad kicked off spring training on Wednesday.

Boone was specifically asked about the rumors of the Astros wearing electronic buzzers underneath their jerseys during games that would relay pitches to them in real time. Is he confident, after MLB's thorough investigation on the matter, that Houston wasn't using these buzzers?

"No. I mean that's certainly one of those great unknowns" he said.

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Carlos Beltran (Treated Image by SNY)
Carlos Beltran (Treated Image by SNY)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

TAMPA -- On Wednesday morning, when one good friend of Carlos Beltran's saw the back page of the New York Post, which labeled Beltran "The Godfather," he felt physically ill.

"I almost threw up," the friend said.

Many people around the game maintain a strong affection for Beltran. Even Yankees officials, who have been annoyed about Beltran's role in the Astros' 2017 sign-stealing scheme, have felt that the demonization of their former employee has gone too far.

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Andy Martino
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Gary Sanchez was ready to catch the slider Aroldis Chapman threw to Jose Altuve in Game 6 of the ALCS down in Houston. Instead, it went over the wall and ended the Yankees' hopes to reach the World Series last season. 

But, of course, with the sign-stealing scandal shocking the baseball world and heavily affecting the Yankees, Sanchez fielded questions about his reactions to the situation at the team's spring training facility in Tampa on Wednesday.

A former teammate in CC Sabathia voiced his frustrations about feeling cheated out of a potential World Series title, and Sanchez holds that same sentiment. 

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Scott Thompson
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The Yankees held their first official day of spring training on Wednesday, as pitchers and catchers all reported. 

James Paxton was among them, and though he won't be able to participate in normal workouts after having a cyst removed from his back, he was still all smiles has he embraced teammates upon returning to Tampa.

Check out Aroldis Chapman, Brian Cashman and more making their way to the facility...

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, James Paxton
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Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton (Treated Image by SNY)
Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton (Treated Image by SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Giancarlo Stanton figures to be heavily scrutinized during Yankee camp this spring, perhaps even more so than the new pinstriped ace, $324-million man Gerrit Cole.  

Bring on the glare. Judging from what GM Brian Cashman says about Stanton, whose 2019 season was wrecked by multiple injuries, the slugger is "looking forward to reminding the fans of baseball that he's still an elite player." 

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony McCarron
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Mike Ford
Mike Ford

As Yankees first baseman Mike Ford prepares for his third spring training with the team down in Tampa, Fla., he knows that this upcoming season can be something special, especially with the addition of Gerrit Cole to their pitching rotation.

Ford stated that "some great stuff" went through his mind when he heard the Yankees signed the offseason's biggest gem.

"He brings a dynamic that's crazy," Ford said Tuesday in Tampa. "He bolsters out staff that's already awesome, so to have him -- probably the top pitcher in the game -- couldn't be happier. Definitely glad they got him."

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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

It's rare when nearly everyone agrees on something, which is what made the harsh negative reactions to Joel Sherman's exclusive report Monday about Major League Baseball's potential new playoff format so unique.

At first glance, the idea of going from 10 to 14 playoff teams -- including four wild cards in each league, with only one division winner automatically advancing to the league division series -- seemed terrible. At second glance -- and with more time to wrap my head around it -- it seemed even worse. 

Adding on to the awfulness of the playoff expansion itself was the reported reasoning behind it, which revolved around a "reality TV twist" where certain teams pick their opponents. And a desire by commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB to satisfy networks and advertising partners.

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Aaron Boone
Aaron Boone

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

It's been said for the past two seasons, but third time's the charm: Yankees manager Aaron Boone has some high expectations this season. 

"World Series or bust" has been the mantra for this loaded Yankees roster, and though they've made the postseason in both of them, they couldn't make it to their desired destination to compete for the franchise's 28th title. 

There were holes on each of those rosters entering spring training, of course, but it's hard to find one this season unless you want to be nitpicky. Gerrit Cole is the expected answer to the starting pitching question that had lingered over GM Brian Cashman's roster. And if they can stay away from the injury bug -- that didn't even faze them last season anyway -- the Yankees would definitely have what it takes to win it all this season. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Austin Romine, Domingo German, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Jordan Montgomery, Kyle Higashioka, Luis Severino, Miguel Andujar, Scott Thompson
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Feb 25, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) smiles during the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 25, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA;New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) smiles during the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

The Yankees, after adding Gerrit Cole and watching the Red Sox trade Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers, are expected to run away with the AL East in 2020. 

PECOTA's annual projections came out on Tuesday, and their 2020 standings have the Yanks doing just that.

The PECOTA projections, which are often on the more conservative side when it comes to win totals, have New York winning 99 games and winning the division by 12 games over the second-place Rays.

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Oct 21, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; during game seven of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)
Oct 21, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; during game seven of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)

Amidst one of the more controversial offseasons in the sport's history, Major League Baseball is consiering a massive overhaul to its playof system beginning in 2022, according to the New York Post.

After introducing the Wild Card game to expand the playoffs from eight teams to 10 in 2012, the new system would potentially include 14 playoff teams, three division winners and four wild card teams. The team with the best record in each league would automatically advance to the Division Series, leaving the remaining six teams to play in a Wild Card round.

The most radical change would be a Selection Sunday-type show in which the two division winners not receiving a bye to the Divison Series would get to choose their opponent in the Wild Card round from the bottom-three Wild Card teams. That would would be a best-of-three series, all of which would be played at that team's home stadium. The other division winner would pick from the remaining two teams, and the top Wild Card team would host the other Wild Card team that wasn't selected.

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What became known as the "Pine Tar Game" occurred on July 24, 1983, between the Yankees and Royals. 

As the story went down in history at Yankee Stadium, George Brett hit a two-run home run with his team trailing 4-3 in the ninth inning, that is, until the pine tar caused the play to be overturned. 

His home run was called off and a regular season game in July turned into an iconic moment in baseball history as Brett stormed from the Royals dugout to protest the play.

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Asked Monday at Yankees spring training in Tampa, Fla. whether he felt "cheated" out of a potential World Series title by the Astros sign-stealing scandal, Masahiro Tanaka was clear.

"Yeah," Tanaka said. "You do feel that way. You do feel that way."

"I don't know if mad is the right word," Tanaka added about it. "It's something that's out of the rule. They're obviously not abiding by the rules, so yeah. That's what I thought."

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Danny Abriano
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Aug 27, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Aug 27, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

The Boston Red Sox have officially agreed to trade Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Sunday evening.

Outfielder Alex Verdugo, shortstop Jeter Downs, and catching prospect Connor Wong will be sent to Boston in exchange for Betts, Price, and cash, per Passan

The Dodgers will also trade pitcher Kenta Maeda and $10 million to the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Brusdar Graterol and the Twins' Comp B draft pick in 2020, according to Ken Rosenthal.

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Yankees manager Aaron Boone (Troy Taormina )
Yankees manager Aaron Boone (Troy Taormina )

Aaron Boone is entering his third year as manager of the Yankees. And if his last two seasons are any indication of a trend, this year should mean a World Series appearance. 

The Yankees didn't make it past the ALDS in 2018, but advanced to the ALCS this past season and we all know how that one finished against the Astros. But the expectations heading into each of those seasons remains the same now: this is a World Series-caliber roster that got even better. 

Gerrit Cole is the main reason for that, with the Yankees finally having an ace to lead their rotation. Luis Severino is also expected to have a comeback season after a strong late-season comeback. In a lengthy Q&A with The Post's Steve Serby, Boone touched on that combination at the top of his staff. 

Tags: James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Scott Thompson
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Yankees' Miguel Andujar, Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton (Treated Image by SNY)
Yankees' Miguel Andujar, Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton (Treated Image by SNY)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

They won 103 games last season despite an historic number of injuries, then signed the best pitcher in the American League away from their biggest threat, ratcheting up expectations to the height of the Joe Torre years.

And then last week the Yankees announced that James Paxton had back surgery that could cause him to miss at least the first couple of months of the season -- an eerie reminder that nothing is ever guaranteed in sports. 

So welcome to the start of spring training, where the most important goal will be to get through six weeks in Tampa with everyone not named Paxton ready for Opening Day. 

Tags: Clint Frazier, Deivi Garcia, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton, Miguel Andujar, John Harper
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 (Troy Taormina )
(Troy Taormina )

While pitchers and catchers aren't scheduled to officially report to the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. until Wednesday, some of them have begun to file in a bit early. 

Chad Green is one of those players, and as expected, he was asked about the topic that continues to dominate the baseball world.

"My initial reaction was just frustration, I guess,'' Green said, speaking of course about the Astros' sign-stealing scandal. "I think that's the initial reaction,'' Anybody is gonna be upset about it a little bit. But you move forward." 

 

Tags: Chad Green
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Former Astros manager AJ Hinch spoke publicly about the Astros sign-stealing scandal for the first time since being suspended for a year by the Commissioner's office and subsequently fired by the Houston Astros. 

In a sit-down interview with MLB Network's Tom Verducci, Hinch spoke about a number of topics, from how much personal accountability he feels, whether or not the Astros 2017 World Series title is tainted, and whether or not the Astros players were wearing buzzers in 2019.

Here are the main takeaways from what Hinch had to say… 

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Jul 4, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jul 4, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

On Friday, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez joined The Michael Kay Show to talk about the upcoming 2020 season.

Sanchez was asked if he's excited to play with three-time All-Star Gerrit Cole, who joins an already strong Yankees pitching rotation.

"Super excited," Sanchez said. "I thought we already had a pretty good pitching rotation, and Gerrit just makes it that much better."

 

Tags: Gary Sanchez
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May 3, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
May 3, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

When the Yankees announced on Wednesday that James Paxton would miss 3-4 months due to back surgery, the news certainly deflated Yankees fans who have been hoping to see Paxton and Gerrit Cole in action at the top of the rotation.

But might Paxton's timeline for return be different than original anticipated?

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Paxton's agent Scott Boras believes that the left-hander will be back sooner than previously thought, saying "We're very optimistic he'll be back in the first third of the season." 

Tags: Domingo German, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) reacts after giving up a home run to Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (not pictured( during the first inning in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) reacts after giving up a home run to Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (not pictured( during the first inning in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Yankees revealed that James Paxton will miss three to four months due to surgery to remove a peridiscal cyst in his lower back on Wednesday. 

So what happens now to the team's starting rotation? 

Well, for one, it explains why J.A. Happ wasn't being pushed harder in a trade this offseason. Sources told SNY's Andy Martino that a situation like this is why the Yankees didn't want to get rid of the veteran left-hander. The Yankees are already down a starter until June, too, as Domingo German will serve his 81-game suspension due to his violation of the joint MLB-MLBPA Domestic Violence Policy.

Tags: Domingo German, James Paxton, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Scott Thompson
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Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Yankees starter James Paxton will miss three to four months as he underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy with removal of a peridiscal cyst, the team announced Wednesday.

The lefty went 15-6 with a 3.82 ERA with 186 strikeouts in his first season with the Yankees in 2019. 

The news comes as the Yankees and MLB teams were set to welcome pitchers and catches to spring training next week. 

Tags: James Paxton
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Everyone knows the Yankees have a direct connection to the Astros' 2017 sign-stealing controversy. 

Fast forward to the 2020 MLB owners meetings on Wednesday and Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner hasn't forgotten about the Astros defeating the Yankees in that season's ALCS either, like many fans of the team.

Despite Steinbrenner acknowledging frustrations, he's looking at what's ahead, not what could of been.

"Let me just say, when the report came out, I was as upset as anyone. Certainly there were direct implications to my organization, our team, our 2017 team. But at some point I think we all, for the sake of the game and the good of the game, need to move on," Steinbrenner told reporters, according to Newsday. "I am moving forward, looking forward, up the hill that's the 2020 season. That's my focus right now."

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Mookie Betts (Adam Hunger)
Mookie Betts (Adam Hunger)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Sports fandom gives you painful moments, and delicious ones. For those who love the Yankees, the sting of October 2004 will never quite heal, nor will the initial hurt and ultimate suspicion of Jose Altuve's ALCS walk-off last October.

Those are horrible days. 

But then there are winters like this. Since last fall, Yankee fans have watched the Red Sox lose a beloved manager in Alex Cora because of the electronic sign-stealing scandal. Now, with the equipment truck already en route to Fort Myers, the Sox are in the extraordinary position of staring down a February managerial vacancy.

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