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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/19/21

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Zack Britton comments on Domingo Germán’s return; Gerrit Cole holds ALDS loss as motivation; MLBPA worried about level of competition in league; O’Day tells story of how he became a sidearm pitcher.

Miami Marlins v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

WFAN | Ryan Chichester: As the Yankees arrive in Tampa, reporters are getting their first questions in to players on a variety of topics. One such topic was the return of Domingo Germán, and Zack Britton didn’t hold back. After prefacing his statement by saying that Germán “didn’t owe anything to me” as a teammate, Britton said that Germán’s actions didn’t have any place in the game or off the field. Germán has already caused a stir in camp for posting cryptic stories on Instagram and promptly deleting his posts (again), so it’s unlikely to be a quiet return for the pitcher.

NY Post | Dan Martin: The first of two posts related to Gerrit Cole centers on his use of the Yankees’ ALDS loss last year as motivation for this season. Cole, who says he was “emotionally affected for a few weeks” after being eliminated by the Tampa Bay Rays, is using that memory as fuel for success in year two of his Yankees career. Now returning to a 162-game season, the Yankees anticipate getting the full value that adding a pitcher of Cole’s caliber brings.

TheScore | AP: Cole is also a member of the MLBPA’s executive subcommittee, and the union is concerned about the shaky levels of competitiveness it feels teams displayed over the offseason. The average player’s salary dropped for a third consecutive year, something that has never happened before, and Cole pointed to the surplus value that analytics is finding in younger players as a culprit of this. Expect to hear some more chirping on this throughout 2021 heading into CBA talks next offseason.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Darren O’Day has enjoyed a 13-year MLB career, but it could have never existed had he stayed an overhand pitcher. O’Day, whose fastball was in the mid-80’s, wasn’t getting any major attention from scouts and failed to walk on at the University of Florida in his freshman year. O’Day made the swap to an underhand delivery thanks to a municipal 18-and-over league where he could experiment without consequences, and his career blossomed from there.