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Around the Empire: Yankees news — 7/21/2020

Dr. Fauci to open the season; “everything” feels different for Montgomery this season — in a good way; Estrada has done his job to crack Yankees roster

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Senate Help Committee Holds Hearing On Safely Going Back To Work And School During Pandemic Photo by Al Drago - Pool/Getty Images

USA Today | Analis Bailey: Dr. Anthony Fauci, arguably the most important man in America, will kick off the Major League Baseball season. The Washington Nationals announced yesterday that Dr. Fauci will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Thursday night’s game. Fauci, a Brooklyn native, grew up as a Yankees fan, but has rooted for both teams in recent years, and even wore a Nationals mask to testify before a House Committee. While I hope that his New York roots will win out over his newer fandom, it is nonetheless a very fitting way to honor the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and his service during the COVID-19 pandemic. | Brendan Kuty: Jordan Montgomery’s performance has been extremely promising this spring/summer, capped off with five scoreless innings in which he struck out six batters against the Mets on Sunday evening. Perhaps more significantly, however, his fastball has been averaging about 93 MPH and hit 95, three more than pre-surgery, and Montgomery says that “everything” feels different this year. His continued development would be a major boon for the Yankees, not just this year, but for the near future.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: With the 30-man roster to start the season, Thairo Estrada remains in play to crack the Opening Day roster. He has done nothing but hit during the intrasquad and summer camp games, and Boone has talked up his ability to play the outfield on the fly last season. Many questions do remain, such as how the Yankees will divide up the 30 roster spots and whether or not DJ LeMahieu will be ready for Opening Day, but Estrada has put himself in the best possible position to find playing time this season.