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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/2/21

Nelson debuts “special pitch”; Judge misses interacting with fans in the outfield; Greg Allen outrighted to Scranton; Gary is working with Tanner Swanson to transform his body.

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

New York Post | Greg Joyce: Nick Nelson made his spring debut by throwing two strong relief innings Monday in Tampa. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he sees lots of promise and possibilities in Nelson, who showed off his 98 mph fastball and a changeup after the Yankees’ 5-4 win over the Tigers that Boone referred to as “a special pitch.”

CBS Sports | Rotowire Staff: Outfielder Greg Allen cleared waivers on Monday and was outrighted to the Yankees Triple-A squad in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Allen, who was traded to New York from the Padres in January and designated for assignment when Brett Gardner was re-signed, will stay in MLB camp with the Yankees as a non-roster invitee. The 27-year-old appeared in 16 games between his time on the Indians and Padres last year, hitting .154 with one home run, four RBI and two stolen bases over 32 plate appearances.

New York Times | James Wagner: Everyone knows: the best baseball fans can be found in the Bronx. The return of (at least some) fans in the stands means a lot to the team, as the Yankees often feed off the camaraderie and energy of the people in the stadium. Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said that interacting with fans was among his favorite parts of the game. Wagner describes how Judge misses signing autographs, hearing fans shout clever and/or obnoxious statements and playing catch with kids in the stands. As someone who has personally played a very brief game of catch with Judge while sitting in the right field upper deck, his saying that warmed my heart. | Brendan Kuty: Gary Sánchez has worked to transform his body after a disappointing 2020 season, focusing on increasing his flexibility, mobility—and perhaps most importantly—injury prevention. “I’ve seen a completely new and revived version of him,” Yankees catching coordinator Tanner Swanson told NJ Advanced Media in a recent phone interview about Sanchez.