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Yankees News and Notes: Pitching, Piniella, and Predictions

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Buenos días, Yankees fans! We're a day closer to Opening Day now; let's see what's going on with the team this morning...

  • Although some people have wondered about whether Hiroki Kuroda actually wanted to join the Yankees since he had blocked trades to New York in the past, he says that it wasn't a matter of him being afraid to pitch in New York. Rather, he just wanted to earn a championship with the Dodgers and live up to his contract. He's glad to be on a team that really wanted him.
  • Ivan Nova unfortunately had to leave his start in ALDS Game 5 against the Tigers with an arm strain after just two innings, but he reports that it now feels "perfect," and that team doctors have assured him he is fine. Good.
  • Manny Banuelos told reporters that he would work on his fastball location during Spring Training this year, as he recognizes that his wildness might have cost him an appearance in the majors at the end of last season.
  • In nostalgic news, former Yankees player and manager Lou Piniella has joined the YES Network as a "special contributor" and will work on the station for 20-30 games this year. He will be an analyst on the occasional game and sometimes do the pregame/postgame show. The Yankees have never had such a successful big league manager in the booth, so he should bring some great insight to the table that we haven't seen before. Also, "LOUUUUUUUUUU!"
  • Mike Silva of New York Baseball Digest speculated as to who among the in-house candidates could replace Mariano Rivera if need be. I should not say "replace," though as there will never be anybody who could possibly live up to such high expectations. Just don't walk anyone and we'll be fine.
  • What? It was possibly a good idea not to extend Russell Martin? I'm glad that I am not alone in this thinking; if the Yankees would not make exceptions to their extension policy for Nick Swisher, there's really not an acceptable reason for doing so with Martin, who had good defense last year but saw his hitting disappear after April.
  • The Yankees signed Burt Reynolds?! Awesome! SNL jokes aside, Reynolds, Robinson Cano's cousin, is a utility man and and will likely be an organizational guy.
  • Not many people can add "Executive Chef, New York Yankees" to their résumé, but Matthew Gibson can! Have a closer look inside the master chef's life.
Have a pleasant morning!