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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/22/21

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Gary to catch Cole on Opening Day; A conversation on baseball’s evolution; Opening day roster spot looking likely for Bruce; Could the Yankees reunite with Betances?

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Yankees Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

New York Post | Greg Joyce: Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced on Sunday that Gary Sánchez is slated to catch Gerrit Cole on Opening Day against the Blue Jays in the Bronx. After Sanchez struggled at the plate in 2020, Kyle Higashioka assumed the role of Cole’s personal catcher and started behind the dish for the Yankees in the postseason, leading to speculation over whether Sánchez would regain the task of working with Cole.

Bluebird Banter | Matt W: Is baseball becoming more boring? As some lament the slowed pace and loss of “action” in baseball, Matt breaks down MLB hitters’ contact vs. plate outcomes over the last century. His analysis scrutinizes the dynamics that dominate modern baseball and offers a fascinating take on why and how the game has evolved over the past hundred years.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Veteran Jay Bruce has put on an impressive show in spring training. Whether the veteran remains on the team will be decided by Thursday, which is when he can exercise the opt-out clause in his minor-league deal with the Yankees. After the team optioned first baseman Mike Ford and infielder Thairo Estrada on Friday, it looks more and more likely that Bruce will earn himself a roster spot for the start of the 2021 season.

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: After missing most of 2019 due to injuries and struggling to find his stuff in 2020, former Yankee and current Mets reliever Dellin Betances continues to struggle on the mound. His poor performance in spring training this year has led some to speculate whether the Mets will look to trade, or end up releasing the righty reliever. Betances had his ups and downs with the Yankees, but he could potentially benefit from the team’s new pitching and training staff if the Yankees were interested in acquiring him as a reclamation project to fortify their bullpen.