Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Major League Baseball made the weather decision Wednesday to push Game 4 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium in New York back 24 hours, and both the Yankees and Astros have adjusted accordingly as they set their starting rotations for the next two matchups.

When each starter -- Astros RHP Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA) and Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA) -- returns to the mound for first pitch Thursday at 8:08 p.m., the rematch of Game 1's 7-0 Yankees win from Minute Maid Park in Houston has series-altering implications.

With potential for four games in as many days through Sunday, should the series reach Game 7, did manager Aaron Boone make the right call to start Tanaka off five days of rest?

With Tanaka's start, the anticipated bullpen outing via an opener gets pushed back to Game 6 -- if the Yankees last until what would be Saturday night's matchup at Minute Maid Park in Houston -- as LHP James Paxton (15-6, 3.82 ERA) "likely" takes the ball against RHP Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.58 ERA) for Friday's 7:08 p.m. Game 5 at Yankee Stadium in New York.

If the series gets to Game 6, the Yankees could face RHP Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA) on three days of rest. He lacked his best stuff Tuesday in Game 3, but Cole still managed to throw 7.0 scoreless innings through 112 pitches with seven strikeouts to five walks and four hits.

Tanaka has been lights out in the postseason -- he boasts a 5-2 record and 1.32 ERA with 36 strikeouts to nine walks through seven starts over 41.0 innings, including a 2-0 mark and 0.82 ERA across the Yankees' wins over the Astros and Minnesota Twins (8-2, ALDS Game 2) this October -- but the decision could blow up before the Yankees and Boone.

In the past, Tanaka has explained how he feels his effectiveness is better on seven days of rest -- which he did between ALDS Game 2 and ALCS Game 1, allowing one run on four hits and striking out 11 while walking two over 11.0 innings -- and goes back to the mound Thursday after five days.

The Yankees likely would have thrown Tanaka regardless Thursday, but Wednesday's rainout compounds the issue for the bullpen.

If Tanaka throws up a dud against the Astros, the Yankees have to dig into their bullpen earlier than expected -- and then hold on for dear life the next four days.



Would the Yankees be better off with the bullpen game Thursday?

While the bullpen has suffered from some inconsistency -- highlighted by RHP Adam Ottavino (6-5, 1.90 ERA), who carries a blown save with three runs allowed on six hits and three strikeouts to three walks over 2.1 innings in six appearances this postseason -- the right plan via an opener could give the Yankees they desperately need as their series-evening quest continues.

RHP Chad Green (4-4, 4.17 ERA) has been effective as an opener. Behind Green, the Yankees still have an arsenal dominant bullpen arms -- RHP Tommy Kahnle (3-2, 3.67 ERA), LHP Zack Britton (3-1, 1.91 ERA) and LHP Aroldis Chapman (3-2, 2.21 ERA) -- to deploy.

On the field, the Yankees miss RHPs Dellin Betances (0-0, 0.00 ERA) and Domingo German (18-4, 4.03 ERA) -- who are out for the postseason between Betances' Achilles injury and German's domestic violence allegation -- but Boone showed the ability to maneuver the abundance of arms before Game 2's 3-2 loss in 11 innings ultimately unraveled from a poor performance at the plate.

This is why they play the games, but the Yankees and Boone are officially pushing all of their ALCS chips into the center of the table Thursday in Game 4 with Tanaka.


MARTINO: Sources - Yankees dugout erupts over Astros' alleged sign stealing >> Read More

HARPER: With Gerrit Cole looming in potential ALCS Game 7, Yankees' best bet is winning three straight >> Read More

MARTINO: How the Yankees lost Game 3 of ALCS vs. Astros >> Read More

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Domingo German, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton
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Feb 17, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addresses representatives from the grapefruit league during the annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Feb 17, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addresses representatives from the grapefruit league during the annual spring training media day at Hilton in West Palm Beach. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has drawn criticism lately over how the league has handled the Houston Astros' sign-stealing saga.

A large amount of that criticism has come from players around the league, such as Nick Markakis, who voiced his displeasure in the fact that no Astros players were penalized for what was called a "player-driven" sign-stealing system in the league's official investigation. 

"I feel like every single guy over there needs a beating," the Braves outfielder told reporters, continuing: "The way [Manfred] handled the situation, he should be embarrassed of himself."

The reason why no players have been punished is that MLB, in working with the Players Association, granted complete "blanket immunity" in exchange for information, a fact that Manfred touched on this past Sunday, but then dug deeper into at a press conference on Tuesday evening. 

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Miguel Andujar's role this season has been a question ever since Gio Urshela took over for him at third base, and had a career year in 2019. GM Brian Cashman has already said it's Urshela's job to lose, so finding a spot for Andujar is now one of the biggest storylines coming out of Yankees spring training. 

Reporters have already prodded manager Aaron Boone to give them an inside look at what the team plans to do with the soon-to-be 25-year-old, and playing the outfield has been the base of some of those questions. Andujar has been seen taking reps with the other outfielders, and Boone said he could see some game time right away as well. 

"Yeah," Boone said when asked if we could see Andujar in the outfield this weekend. "I think the good thing is, physically speaking, Miggy's feeling well and we feel like in a good place and ready to go and game ready. We'll get him out there in a lot of different situations and even positions. But, at the same time, being mindful of the demands that this creates and something new that we have to be mindful of."

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Miguel Andujar, Scott Thompson
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Multiple Yankees have come forth to voice their opinions about the Astros sign-stealing scandal, and Aaron Judge joined them on Tuesday without holding anything back.

Simply put, he doesn't believe the Astros -- who defeated the Yankees in the ALCS during that 2017 season -- deserve to keep their World Series title they won shortly after that series.

"Yeah, I just don't think it holds any value," he said. "You cheated, you didn't earn it. That's how I feel: it wasn't earned." 

 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Scott Thompson
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Feb 18, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) works out at batting practice during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 18, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) works out at batting practice during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Brett Gardner joined the ranks of Yankees who have made comments on the Astros' sign-stealing scandal on Tuesday, but decided to keep some of his stronger thoughts to himself.

Gardner, a member of the Yankees team that fell in seven games to the Astros in the 2017 ALCS, feels Houston "cheated" and voiced some of his frustration at spring training down in Tampa, Fla.

"Yeah, without getting too far into it, it's frustrating to know, looking back, that maybe we weren't on an even playing field," Gardner said on the 2017 ALCS. 

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Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed on Tuesday that All-Star OF Aaron Judge will be missing at least the team's first spring training game on Saturday. 

Boone described Judge as having "crankiness" and a "little soreness" in his right shoulder, which gives more context to George A. King III's report that stated he was dealing with a "minor" problem in that shoulder. 

"I don't anticipate it delaying the season, but he won't be playing on Feb. 22," Boone said. "But hopefully not much behind that."

 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Scott Thompson
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The Yankees hit the field as a squad on Tuesday in Tampa, with Aaron Judge participating on a limited basis and Miguel Andujar leaving the infield dirt.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar
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At this time last year, DJ LeMahieu was entering spring training as a very intriguing, super-utility option for the Yankees. GM Brian Cashman signed him to a two-year, $24 million deal, and many believed his high-contact bat and smooth glove anywhere in the field could be a catalyst of sorts for a lineup bursting with power bats. 

The preseason catalyst actually became the team MVP. 

LeMahieu was everything the Yankees hoped to see and much more after having a career year at the plate, and providing manager Aaron Boone with a consistent presence in a lineup wrecked by injuries. He earned his third All-Star nod after posting a .327/.375/.518 slash line with a career-high 26 homers and 102 RBI. That kind of leap in production also had a Silver Slugger Award come his way as well. 

Tags: DJ LeMahieu, Scott Thompson
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Oct 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge will be held out of batting practice on Tuesday due to a "minor right shoulder problem," reports George A. King III of the New York Post.

According to King, manager Aaron Boone said a test on Judge's shoulder didn't reveal anything serious.

While Judge -- who arrived at camp on Monday -- is being held out of batting practice for precautionary reasons, he will be throwing.

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

MLB Network has released its Top 100 Right Now list, and of the eight Yankees who make an appearance, it's their newest, high-priced acquisition leading the way.

Gerrit Cole signed the richest contract of any starting pitcher in the history of baseball when he signed with the Yankeesin the offseason, and with good reason. He ranks No. 7 on MLB Network's list, the highest of any pitcher and one spot ahead of Mets' ace Jacob deGrom. Cole was the runner-up to then-Astros teammate Justin Verlander in AL Cy Young voting, despite leading the league with a 2.50 ERA and all of baseball with 326 strikeouts. 

Aaron Judge has missed 50-plus games in each of the last two seasons, but still earns the No. 16 spot on the list. Judge missed 60 games and had just 447 plate appearances in 2019, but still hit 27 homers and slashed .272/.381/.540. He'll enter his fourth full season in the big leagues hoping that it's more like his rookie year than the previous two. All Judge did in his first season was mash 52 homers, win AL Rookie of the Year and finish second in AL MVP voting.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, DJ LeMahieu, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino
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Count Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres among the many MLB players who don't believe that the Astros' sign-stealing scheme ended before 2019.

Asked Monday at spring training if he thinks the Astros were cheating in 2019, Torres said "yeah, for sure."

Reminded about the denials of Astros players that their scheme extended that far, Torres was clear.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Masahiro Tanaka, Danny Abriano
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Live batting practice has already started for the Yankees, and Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ were on hand to pitch to live hitters for the first time this spring. Check them out, along with Miguel Andujar getting outfield reps with Aaron Judge.

Tags: Aaron Judge, J.A. Happ, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar
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What will the Yankees get out of Giancarlo Stanton this season? 

It's one of the bigger questions heading into spring training, as the former MVP battled through multiple injuries last season that led to playing only a few scattered games in the regular season and postseason. And even in those contests, Stanton's presence was felt. 

Manager Aaron Boone will hope it's a presence he can consistently put in his lineup. Having Stanton around the likes of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and the rest of this stacked lineup makes it that much more scary for Yankees opponents. And it looks like that's what will happen right away at spring training, as Boone says Stanton is a full go. 

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar, Scott Thompson
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Brett Gardner (Noah K. Murray)
Brett Gardner (Noah K. Murray)

Yankees OF Brett Gardner has filed a restraining order against an obsessed fan, and the Yankees want her banned from all ballparks around the league, per NJ.com's Brendan Kuty

Gardner went to civil court last Thursday to make sure Gina Devasahayam, 46, stays away from him and his family. Devasahayam has claimed that she's Gardner's "future wife" among many other comments about the two of them despite never meeting. 

In August, Devasahayam, who says she is a "biotech entrepreneur," attempted to sneak in to the visitor's clubhouse at Camden Yards in Baltimore when the Yankees were in town to face the Orioles. She went in to see Gardner, but security kicked her out. 

Tags: Brett Gardner
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Like many Yankees last season, OF Mike Tauchman was called upon to fill in for starters that hit the IL. Between the injuries for Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron Judge, Tauchman had plenty of opportunities to impress in his first season as a Yankee, and he did just that. 

Until the injury bug caught up with him toward the end of the season. 

A Grade 2 calf strain suffered at the beginning of September ended Tauchman's campaign, as the Yankees lost yet another key contributor to their lineup. Stanton, Miguel Andujar, and later on Luke Voit would join that list as well. 

Tags: Clint Frazier, Gio Urshela, Tyler Wade, Scott Thompson
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Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Brian Cashman gave Gerrit Cole the richest contract in pitching history, so it's no surprise that the Yankees GM believes his new ace is going to sparkle in his first season in pinstripes. 

That's no rogue opinion. Cashman is far from the only one in baseball who is confident in Cole, the explosive righty who signed a $324 million deal during the offseason. In recent conversations with SNY.tv, opposing scouts and executives raved about Cole and it's clear that the rest of the industry believes the Yanks finally have the kind of rotation-topper who can dominate a season and in October. 

"Now they got their No. 1 guy," said a longtime MLB scout. "No more excuses." 

Tags: James Paxton, Anthony McCarron
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With Yankees position players trickling in to spring training in Tampa, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were some of the first to arrive on Monday morning.

Click below to see...

Tags: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton
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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, saw the Yankees get several pitchers 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."

Tags: James Paxton
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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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