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

A-Rod to debut as instructor next week; NYY farm system ahead of NYM; Carter signing official; Sheffield wants to crack Opening Day rotation; Choate retires; Hughes had a rib removed, keeps it

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New York Daily News | Mike Mazzeo: Alex Rodriguez will officially make his debut as spring training instructor next week. A-Rod, who was cut by the Yankees last year, signed on to be a special advisor to Hal Steinbrenner and will be in spring camp for three days as an instructor. His exact role remains to be seen, but once he gets to camp Joe Girardi and Rob Thomson will coordinate with A-Rod. I’d wager money on him focusing his time with the young shortstop prospects like Gleyber Torres and Jorge Mateo.

New York Post | Mark W. Sanchez: The Yankees’ and the Mets’ farm systems both have talent, but the Yankees’ system far exceeds the Mets’. Where the Yankees have stuffed every top prospect list with their own gems such as Torres, Clint Frazier, James Kaprielian, Aaron Judge, Blake Rutherford, and others, the Mets only have Amed Rosario and Robert Gsellman appearing on every top prospect list. So in the battle for NY farm systems, advantage: Yankees.

MLB Trade Rumors | Steve Adams: The Yankees have officially announced the Chris Carter signing. In order to make room on the roster for Carter, the team elected to designate Richard Bleier for assignment. The 29-year old made his MLB debut last season and performed well in a short sample but was the odds-on favorite to go for Carter. If Bleier clears waivers, he can stay in camp with the Yanks as a NRI and serve as useful depth for the team. | Randy Miller: Justus Sheffield would like to crack the Opening Day rotation out of camp, obviously a big dream for someone who hasn’t pitched above Double-A. Sheffield knows it’s a big dream, but he’s hoping to at least make the organization talk with an impressive spring, even though there’s almost zero chance that he’ll start anywhere outside of Trenton.

CBS | Sweeny Murti: Randy Choate, the man you always forget is around, has officially decided to call it a career. Choate last appeared in a major-league game for the Cardinals in 2015 and spent most of last year with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate. He was the last piece of the Yankees’ 2000 championship team, and was able to stick around this long after reviving his career after a mid-2000s slump and because he’s a lefty. So who will be the last man from the 2009 team to survive?

ESPN: This is not current Yankee news, but old friend Phil Hughes has decided to make himself noteworthy. Hughes has a career year in 2014 with the Twins, which prompted them to give him a long-term deal and since then he’s been a disappointment in Minnesota. Hughes had a horrendous year last season and was removed from the rotation before he eventually got surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome. After his surgery though, Hughes elected to keep the rib that was removed, though he has yet to decide what he’ll do with the rib. Okay then.