Kristie Ackert | Daily News: Like the rest of the baseball world, the Yankees weren’t too impressed with the Astros’ collective apology during Thursday morning’s press conference. Aaron Boone heard Astros owner Jim Crane’s statement that the banging scheme didn’t affect the outcome of the game, and like most people, found that hard to believe, saying it was “quite a stretch.” That’s an understatement.
Pete Caldera | NorthJersey: The Astros continue to try and put out the sign-stealing fire yet are only fanning the flame, which has also kept alive suspicion of the use of electronic buzzers in the 2019 ALCS. Aroldis Chapman, who’s hanging slider was demolished by Jose Altuve to end that series, took responsibility for giving up the series-clinching dinger, but did say Altuve’s warning to teammates to not rip his jersey off was “suspicious.”
Scott Thompson | SNY: James Paxton won’t be participating in spring training due to his recent back surgery, but he did offer an update on Thursday, saying he expects to begin throwing again in 4-6 weeks, meaning after working his way back and going through rehab starts, he is likely on line for that May or June return. For what it’s worth, Paxton said he was shooting for May, but after what happened last year with the team as a whole, let’s prepare for anything.
Brendan Kuty | NJ.com: Gary Sanchez and catching coach Tanner Swanson have been doing a lot of work together to prepare for the 2020 season, specifically adjusting Sanchez’s stance behind the plate, trying to keep his right knee lower to the ground. The hope is for Sanchez to improve his pitch framing, which declined significantly last season, while still continuing his upward trend in pitch blocking. For more on his adjustments, I also highly recommend reading Lindsey Adler’s story on The Athletic (subscription required).