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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/20/21

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D-Rob throws second showcase; Johnny Damon arrested in Florida on DUI charges; Yanks sign Brett Gardner; pitchers are pumped for new “gas station”

Divisional Round - Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees - Game Four Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Twitter | Mark Feinsand: Former Yankees reliever and current free agent David Robertson threw his second showcase for major league scouts and coaches on Friday. More than a dozen teams traveled to Winter Haven, Fla. to watch D-Rob’s throwing session. Robertson was said to look good on the mound, according to a tweet by Feinsand, who said Robertson’s pitches sat “in the 90-91 mph range.” Robertson last pitched in a major league game on April 14, 2019, when he suffered a season-ending elbow strain requiring Tommy John surgery. Last season, Robertson didn’t appear on the mound at all, due to a setback he experienced while rehabbing after surgery.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: It’s official. The 14th annual Gardy party will take place in the Bronx during the 2021 baseball season. The veteran Yankees outfielder and longest-tenured player agreed Friday to a one-year contract worth $4 million, with an option for 2022, pending a physical. Considering the Yankees’ desire to remain under the luxury tax threshold and that the team declined Gardner’s $10 million option in November, Gardner’s time in pinstripes appeared to hang in the balance for much of the offseason.

In addition to being the Yankees’ last remaining link to the 2009 World Series championship, Gardner is valued within the organization for his leadership in the clubhouse. He also adds a lefty bat to a mostly right-handed Yankees lineup. In a number of past interviews, Gardy has mentioned his wish to remain a Yankee for his entire MLB career. Notably, Gardner will have to accept a new role on the bench, as Aaron Boone said during Friday’s press conference that Clint Frazier is slated to be the Yankees’ starting left fielder in 2021.

MLB.com | Bryan Hoch: A number of Yankees pitchers, including Zach Britton and Darren O’Day, have commented on the team’s new pitching lab, which is dubbed the “gas station.” Located at the Yankees player development complex in Tampa, the new state-of-the-art facility has been in the works for a few years. The gas station is outfitted with the latest tech equipment to gather pitching data, including high-speed cameras and pitch-tracking tools like Rapsodo and Edgertronics.

According to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic, from the outside “the building [housing the Gas Station] looks like a big blue barn.” The construction of the pitching lab demonstrates how the Yankees have fully embraced technological innovation in the game and new-school pitching philosophies in recent years. The gas station provides Yankee pitchers with access to cutting-edge pitch design tools and allows them to get instant feedback in areas such as tunneling, or the spin efficiency of their pitches.

Orlando Sentinel | Hannah Phillips: Former Yankees and Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon was arrested on Friday in Windermere, Fla. on charges of driving under the influence and resisting a police officer without violence. According to the arrest report, Damon, 47, was pulled over early Friday morning by a Windermere Police Department officer who saw Damon’s black Lincoln SUV swerve and hit a curb. A breathalyzer test measured Damon’s blood-alcohol level to be between .294 and .300—roughly four times Florida’s legal limit of .08. The arrest report also included a few choice statements made by Damon during the traffic stop and subsequent arrest. After he was asked to perform a sobriety test, the two-time World Series Champion said he would agree to the test because he is “a big boy.” Then, upon being released from the Orange County Corrections Department, Damon offered his opinion on what it’s like to be behind bars. “Jail’s horrible,” he told reporters.

Damon’s wife Michelle Mangan-Damon was also arrested during the incident. She was booked on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and for resisting arrest with violence.

Damon played for the Yankees from 2006 to 2009.