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Breaking down the Yankees’ first day of spring training

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Here’s what you need to know as pitchers and catchers report to camp.

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The road to the 2020 season officially started today for the Yankees, as pitchers and catchers reported to spring training. The first organized workout actually takes place tomorrow, but there was plenty of news to come out of camp this afternoon. We’ll give broader treatment to the day’s stories in tomorrow’s Around the Empire, but here are a few interesting points to get you started.

Cole steals the show on day one

In case you missed it, Gerrit Cole is a Yankee. The crown jewel of the Bombers’ offseason threw what might be the most publicized bullpen of the spring. For the first time, fans got to see the right-hander pitch in a Yankees uniform.

In an interesting clip posted to Bryan Hoch’s Instagram story, Cole commanded the attention of his teammates too. Check out how they crowd around him and listen as he speaks. We long heard of Cole’s makeup and leadership qualities, and here he put them on display.

It’s going to be such a fun season.

Boone holds first press conference of 2020

Yankees manager Aaron Boone met with members of the media for the first time this spring. The skipper covered a variety of topics over the course of a half hour. The YES Network has the full interview available for those who want to watch.

Boone talked about a number of topics, but a few stand out in particular. On Cole, he raved about the pitcher’s workout and temperament. “That’s him,” he said, “you can get into a conversation about the craft of pitching. We’re talking everything from, you know, how he’s shaping his changeup, and how he wants to throw it, and what his arm action should be doing, and what his misses are. It’s just a really good baseball conversation with a great player who understands who he is really well.”

The sign-stealing scandal and the Astros dominated the majority of the conference. Boone expressed his disappointment with the news, but also kept his eyes on the season ahead. “The range of emotions has been huge,” he explained, “you know you’re mad, frustrated, disappointed. But you also know there’s a time to move on. I don’t really dwell on the things I’m not really able to control. I look at it now as it’s time to move on and look forward.”

Interestingly enough, Boone did not say conclusively that he could rule out whether Jose Altuve wore a buzzer when he hit the walk-off home run to win the pennant.

Severino, Sanchez address the Astros as well

The sign-stealing scandal won’t go away, no matter how hard baseball tries. Two Yankees in particular voiced their concerns today. Gary Sanchez raised suspicion of Altuve wearing a buzzer, joking about how the second baseman wouldn’t let teammates tear off his jersey in the post-game celebration.

Luis Severino turns the clock back even further. He talked about the intense training he did with the belief that he had been tipping pitches. If the signs were stolen thanks to illegal use of technology, that would make all that effort for nothing.

Something tells me there will be more to say as other players report to camp in the coming days.