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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/31/17

Judge to get everyday ABs, Hicks to spell Ellsgard vs. LHP; Hal says NYY can contend in ‘17; Sabathia talks about his time in the majors, with NYY; Sterling previews new HR calls; Wilcy Moore changed relief pitching; Rutherford’s monster shot

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Philadelphia Phillies
“That Hicks guy? About yay-high? You almost gave him my job?”
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | Dan Martin & George A. King III: Aaron Judge will be the Opening Day right fielder and Luis Severino will be the fourth starter in the rotation. The Yankees took the battle all the way down to the wire, but in the end the heavy favorites came out victorious. While this does mean that Aaron Hicks will be the fourth outfielder, he’ll still get plenty of at-bats. The team’s plan is to play Judge “everyday” and have Hicks play against lefties and spell Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, depending on the day.

CBS: Count Hal Steinbrenner as one that’s optimistic about the team’s chances this season. Steinbrenner believes that the Yankees could contend and play well into October this year if things break right. He believes that the team is better than last year’s, and the Yankees won’t be afraid to buy, buy, buy at the deadline if a move needs to be made.

New York Times | Tyler Kepner: Opening Day 2017 is right around the corner, and baseball will be very different. Familiar faces and voices like Alex Rodriguez and Vin Scully are moving on, yet there’s some of the old guard is still around. This is a fascinating profile on baseball’s active leaders in hits, homers, strikeouts, games as an umpire, years in the broadcast booth and years as a major league coach, all of whom have combined to log nearly 200 major league seasons. Featured as “the hurler,” CC Sabathia talks about his time in the big leagues and with the Yankees. It’s worth your time to read this.

ESPN | Steve Wulf: The 1927 Yankees used to practice at Crescent Lake Park in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is where they first noticed and gave a chance to a 30-year-old rookie right-hander named William “Wilcy” Moore, who’d go on to change the value of relief pitchers in baseball. This is a pretty cool story about one of the ‘27 Yankees whose name you don’t hear as often as his “Murderer’s Row” teammates. Moore paved the way to increase the value of relievers, and it’s an especially interesting read now which is possibly the Golden Age of relief pitchers.

New York Post | Dean Balsamini: John Sterling took over as the Yankees radio play-by-play announcer in 1989 and impressively hasn’t missed a game since. What he’s obviously known for are his cheesy sometimes fun, sometimes cringe-worthy home run calls for any Yankee who hits a dinger. Sterling took some time to preview some of the new calls he’s expecting to make this year, like for Matt Holliday and even Clint Frazier. He also previewed a tweak to Gary Sanchez’s call, and listed his five favorite home run calls.

Baseball America | Josh Norris: Ever since the Yankees surprised everyone by drafting and then actually signing Blake Rutherford, he’s pretty much impressed. Rutherford worked hard to put some weight on this winter so he can add some power to his profile, and he hit an impressive dinger yesterday that showed his efforts have not gone to waste. Video of the homer is in the link. Most importantly, Rutherford has earned the nickname “The Barrel” this spring and it is wonderful. Blake “The Barrel” Rutherford.