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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/15/21

Aaron Boone implies Nick Nelson could be a multi-inning weapon; Miguel Andújar to see hand specialist; Aroldis Chapman’s “gross” splitter; Yankees’ backup catcher situation starting to get worrisome

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NJ Advance Media | Brendan Kuty (via Twitter): Yankees manager Aaron Boone is very impressed with what he has seen from Nick Nelson so far in spring training. According to the skipper, he could potentially have an “immediate” job as a reliever in a Jonathan Loásiga-type role, which means as a multi-inning guy. The right-hander has a power arm and showed glimpses of his potential in 2020, when he had a 4.79 ERA in 20.2 frames. During Grapefruit League play, Nelson has a shiny 0.00 ERA in 6.1 innings, with no walks and six whiffs. Since Zack Britton is going to miss at least a couple months, an opportunity could be there for Nelson to crack the Opening Day bullpen. | Bryan Hoch: Miguel Andújar, currently fighting for a spot on the Yankees’ Opening Day roster, will be shut down for the next few days as a hand specialist gets a look at his wrist. The former Rookie of the Year runner-up reported soreness in his hand/wrist area and explained that it’s something he first felt while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic a few months ago. However, he said it got worse this week. The Yankees will know what the next steps will be after the doctor sees him on Monday or Tuesday.

NJ Advance Media | Brendan Kuty: After Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, manager Aaron Boone referred to Aroldis Chapman’s new splitter as “gross.” Developed late last year, it comes in around 88 mph. “It’s been great,” Boone said of the pitch while speaking on the YES Network. “Even going back to last year, we felt like it was real and something that he could certainly incorporate. I think he worked on (it) a little bit this winter and has carried it right into spring training. It’s a pitch we have a lot of confidence in but I think most importantly Chappy has a lot of confidence in it and the results have been really good on it.”

NY Post | Dan Martin Gary Sánchez is off to a scintillating start at the plate during spring training play (.278/.350/.778 with three homers in nine games), but the backup catcher situation is starting to get a bit messy. Kyle Higashioka hasn’t gotten going at the plate (2-for-17, six strikeouts) and Robinson Chirinos appears to be out for the foreseeable future with a broken wrist. To their credit, Rob Brantly has gone deep twice and Max McDowell hit a bases-clearing double on Sunday, but neither is going to be considered a viable backup option should Sánchez or Higashioka go down.