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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/10/17

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Cashman previews and gives his expectations for the 2017 season; The future of the Yankees middle infield is bright; Tex talks retirement, new gig, and Yanks’ chances; Bird is the only hope for lefty power

MLB: New York Yankees-Workout Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

New York Daily News | Mike Mazzeo: Before getting hurt last year, the buzz around the Yankees was that James Kaprielian could’ve potentially made it to the majors in 2016. Unfortunately he lost the year to injury, but after a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, Kaprielian looks to be back on track. Brian Cashman says the kind of stuff to pitch in the big leagues right now and if he can prove he’s healthy he has a shot to make the rotation this year.

CBS New York: Yesterday, Brian Cashman went on WFAN to talk to Mike Francesa about the upcoming baseball season. Cashman says he believes the Yankees could be contenders this year as long as all goes well. Cashman says it’s hard to set expectations for Gary Sanchez, but all he wants from Sanchez is health. Cashman also set his expectations for top prospect Gleyber Torres. While many are hoping to see him in the Bronx, Cashman says that Torres will start at Double-A and hopes he performs well enough to earn a promotion to Triple-A before the season’s end.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: A few days ago, Cashman agreed to a deal with free agent first baseman Chris Carter. Carter was coming off a season where he hit 41 home runs and played in 160 games, so it’s curious that Carter would be okay with a part-time role. Cashman, however, was “brutally honest” with Carter and told him that he’d mainly only see time against lefties as the Yankees still view Greg Bird as the future at first base.

FanRag Sports | Gary Phillips: For years, the middle of the Yankees’ infield was great. With Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano manning shortstop and second base, the Yankees had no worries there. But after Jeter retired in 2014 and the Yankees let Cano walk in 2013, there was a dark time in the middle infield. Didi Gregorius stepped up right after Jeter left, but for two years there was a dark cloud on second base. Now, however, things seem to be good again for the middle infield. Gregorius and Starlin Castro currently hold the fort there, but the future is also bright with Torres and Jorge Mateo as also options down the road.

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: Brian Cashman isn’t the only one that’s optimistic about the Yankees in 2017. Former Yankees’ first baseman and current ESPN analyst Mark Teixeira is also confident in the Yankees’ chances. Teixeira says that if the veterans stay healthy and the youngsters can step up, the team could expect their “average” expectations. Tex also gave a vote of confidence for Bird, but also praised the Carter signing calling it a steal.

New York Post | Joel Sherman: For the first time, in a long time, the Yankees do not project to have potential left-handed power in their lineup. Greg Bird is the Yankees’ best hope to fill that need and take advantage of the short right field porch. While the Yankees haven’t had a change in philosophy, Cashman says the emergence of the shift has hurt lefty-pull hitters so they’re not the priority they once were. For now though, the Yankees are betting on Bird to be the legitimate lefty power threat in their lineup, even though they will potentially use other lefties regularly like Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury.