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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/2/20

Any 2020 season looks increasingly likely to start without fans; Pitching coach Matt Blake could be faced with a tremendous challenge; James Paxton progressing through rehab at home.

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New York Yankees v Atlanta Braves Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

New York Post | Joel Sherman: Sherman discusses two points that he believes have become increasingly clear: if the 2020 season resumes, it will be without fans, and that teams will have to deal with an unconventional minor league system. Getting hundreds of minor league teams across the country during a pandemic may prove logistically difficult, if not impossible, leaving the league to figure out how to structure a season in which teams don’t have steady access to prospect talent.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: If it is ever safe to resume playing baseball this year, MLB will want to get its players back on the field as soon as possible. This could present new Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake with a big, unexpected challenge. Should teams be given a short time to ramp up before a season relaunch, it will be Blake’s job to get the team’s pitchers in form for the campaign. That sounds like a sticky situation to navigate, with injuries for unready hurlers a very real possibility.

As a bonus, you can also check out Lindsey Adler’s look at how Blake is currently trying to work with the Yankees’ pitchers remotely. This story is at The Athletic, so a subscription is required.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: In case you’ve forgotten, James Paxton is still rehabbing after offseason back surgery. Paxton reportedly is continuing to progress well even while working out at his Wisconsin home during the coronavirus pandemic. The Yankees had hoped Paxton would return to their rotation by the end of May under normal circumstances. There almost certainly won’t be baseball games going on then, but if there were, it sounds as though Paxton would be on track to return at about that time.

New York Post | Dan Martin: Zack Granite signed a minor league contract with the Yankees ahead of spring training this year, bringing the childhood Yankee fan one step closer to fulfulling his lifelong dream of donning pinstripes. He still hopes for a chance to realize that dream, though he recognizes that the national emergency at hand takes on much more importance. Perhaps Granite could sneak on to the backend of the roster if a condensed season is played with expanded rosters.