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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/31/19

Gary Sanchez takes ownership for error; Aaron Judge makes series finale sound like a must-win; James Paxton and DJ LeMahieu have strong debuts

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images | Brendan Kuty: Gary Sanchez made a rare throwing error in yesterday’s loss to the Orioles. He misfired to second base in the sixth inning, the ball landed in center field, and Baltimore took the lead. It was an unfortunate play, and the catcher took ownership of it. “That’s my fault,” he said in the post-game interview. Sanchez explained why he made the choice, and it made sense from a baseball perspective. It happens, and it’s unfortunate that this will further the “Gary is a bad catcher” narrative. | Greg Tartaglia: As every knows, the third game of the season makes for a must-win scenario. Common knowledge, folks. While that may be the case for a section of Yankees fans online, Aaron Judge somewhat shares the sentiment. “Last year, we did that, [saw] so many missed opportunities in games we should’ve won, but we just didn’t come up with a big hit or [made] a costly error, stuff like that,” the right-fielder told reporters after yesterday’s game. “We’ve just got to have that mind-set that our backs are against the wall every single game.” I wonder what handle Judge goes by in the comments section.

CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: After spending all winter waiting to see James Paxton pitch, Yankees fans finally got to see the left-hander in action. Big Maple pitched well in his debut, taking a tough-luck loss despite allowing just two runs (one earned) in 5.2 innings. He struck out five in the process. The start proved encouraging, though, and served as a reminder of why the team chose to make him the offseason’s top priority.

Newsday | Brian Heyman: Paxton wasn’t alone in making his Yankees debut yesterday. DJ LeMahieu also made his first appearance in pinstripes. The utilityman got the start at third base, where he flashed the leather on a few nifty plays, but also made an error. At the plate, he picked up an RBI and scored a run. LeMahieu said that he felt comfortable out there, and that’s good. He should get used to playing a lot, but it sounds like he will be in the lineup quite frequently going forward.