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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/24/2020

LeMahieu active but not in starting lineup for Opening Day; Juan Soto tests positive before season opener; Yankees and Nats kneel before anthem; Tanaka will wear an insert inside his cap

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

NY Post | Dan Martin: DJ LeMahieu got into some games quicker than most expected after arriving to camp late. The Yankees second baseman had to rebound fast from a positive COVID-19 case to be ready for Opening Day, and appeared in the last two exhibition games back in Yankee Stadium. Aaron Boone said that LeMahieu was available off of the bench for the team in their season debut against Washington, but opted to sit him to give him more time to get ready. LeMahieu could possibly start on Saturday, and is going to get at-bats against Jordan Montgomery to keep them both fresh today. | Brendan Kuty: There was a surprise for both teams before the game even started yesterday, as news broke that Nationals outfielder Juan Soto had tested positive for the coronavirus. Soto’s test came back from Tuesday, and there was a bunch of confusion about what would happen. Ultimately the game went on as scheduled, and Boone said that there was “no hesitation” on going forward despite the lack of clarity.

NY Daily News | Kristie Ackert: The Yankees and Nationals came together for a show of unity before the National Anthem was played in the season opener, kneeling while holding a black rope. The gesture was one of several things the teams did, as the Yankees warmed up in shirts that said “Black Lives Matter” and the letters BLM were put below the MLB logo on the mound, among other things.

ESPN | William Weinbaum: Masahiro Tanaka is working his way back to the rotation, and he’s made one change already. Tanaka has a hard-shell insert to put into his cap when he pitches, and he worked with it in for the first time yesterday. Tanaka is sitting out with a concussion after a scary comebacker drilled Tanaka in the head, and he plans to keep the insert in for the remainder of the season. If he manages to do so he may be a driving force towards some kind of improvement for pitcher safety, but we’ll have to see if he sticks to it. Plenty of pitchers have attempted to make this adjustment, but if anything is off in Tanaka’s initial appearances, superstition and comfort may win out.