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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 2/17/20

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Cole is applauded in his first live batting practice; Montgomery and Schmidt also threw on Sunday; Sanchez is working on his framing skills; former Yankee Tony Fernandez dies at 57

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

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was greeted with applauses in his first live batting practice on Sunday. “It’s the first time I got a standing ovation for my first live BP, I can tell you that,” Cole said. “I walked out and I told [manager Aaron] Boone, ‘It’s probably going to come out a little bit hotter than anticipated.’ It was good. I’m not certainly complaining about a nice atmosphere.” He fired 27 pitches to eight batters, and had five punchouts. He threw to Gary Sanchez and used only fastballs and changeups. Manager Aaron Boone was impressed with Cole’s attention to detail, level of intensity and concentration.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: While most eyes were on Cole, Jordan Montgomery thre a live batting practice session. Boone was happy with the results after seeing him: “Another one [we’re] excited about. He was the one guy that, you know, had two ups, obviously. I think he threw 35 or 36 or so pitches and another guy I thought really executed well today,” the skipper said. Montgomery is, according to Ackert, one of the favorites to win the fifth starter job out of spring training. Clarke Schmidt also threw on Sunday.

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: Gary Sanchez is working hard to improve his framing skills. At the suggestion of new catchers’ coach Tanner Swanson, he, according to MLB.com, “anchored his right knee low to the ground, nearly touching the dirt, then popped out of his crouch and fired” his throw to second base as part of the new approach. The idea is to improve the receivers’ ability to steal strikes on borderline pitches low in the zone. “It’s a little hard, because it’s something new that you have to adjust to,” Sánchez said.

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: Former Yankees and Blue Jays shortstop Tony Fernandez passed away on Sunday at 57 years old. According to NJ.com, the Associated Press reported that the former major leaguer “died Sunday after being taken off a life support system in the afternoon with his family present at a hospital in Weston, Florida.” Fernández had been in a “medically induced coma and had waited years for a new kidney.” He played most of his career with Toronto but also donned pinstripes and spent time with the New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers.