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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/26/20

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Team bonds over steak dinner; Britton wary of expanded playoffs; Sanchez warming to new defensive stance

New York Yankees All Star Brunch Sponsored By Delta Air Lines Hosted By Josh Capon - Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for NYCWFF

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Team bonding is as important as ever with the Yankees having mostly been away from each other for the last four months, and Gerrit Cole and Brett Gardner are leading the way. The two veterans splurged for a steak dinner in the team’s D.C. hotel, and the players hung out (while socially distant) and watched other Opening Day games with some good eats. It was a nice gesture by two Yankees leaders, and as Chad Green put it, you “can’t complain about a good steak!”

New York Daily News: Kristie Ackert: Zack Britton is not a fan of the expanded MLB playoffs. He argued that there should be a greater reward for division winners, and as a pitcher on a likely division leader, it’s hard to blame him. As it stands, there is almost no benefit for the one-, two- and three-seeds, other than home-field-advantage in the expanded playoff round. It creates more excitement, which Britton says is good, but the rushed nature of the rule’s implementation has seemingly caused more confusion with players than expected.

New York Post | George A. King III: Gary Sanchez took awhile to adapt to his new defensive stance, which features one knee almost permanently in the dirt, but he is comfortable in it now. Sanchez says he is getting to the point where it almost feels like “second nature,” which is exactly what new catching instructor Tanner Swanson wants. The goal of the new stance is to help Sanchez get better at framing the low pitch for a strike, while maintaining his improved blocking. It’s still early, but there’s been nothing but good reports on Sanchez’s defense so far.