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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/31/21

Cole speaks on his understanding of the game’s mental aspects; Protocols for Yankee Stadium fans on Opening Day; Reds return Kyle Holder; Season predictions from our community

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

NY Post | Ken Davidoff: When Gerrit Cole arrived in camp last year, one of the first impressions he left on many reporters was his dedication to studying the game. Cole’s rise to the upper echelon of pitching was built on a foundation of preparation, dating back to his days at UCLA. Cole dove into the subject recently in an interview, relaying his journey and the understanding of the craft that he’s picked up. | Randy Miller: Yankee Stadium will have fans in attendance for the first time since Game 5 of the 2019 ALCS, and there’s some new regulations for those who wish to go. Anyone wanting to go to the game will need either proof of vaccination — and it will need to be at least 14 days prior to the date, for the full effect — or have a negative COVID test from the past 72 hours. Masks will be required, and concessions will be open but will not be accepting cash, among other rules.

MLB Trade Rumors | Connor Byrne: One of the players that the Yankees lost in the Rule 5 Draft has returned to them. Kyle Holder, who was initially selected by the Phillies but traded to the Reds, did not make Cincinnati’s 26-man roster and was promptly returned to the Yankees. Holder was an ambitious pick, as he hasn’t played about the Double-A level in his career yet, but there was optimism about his glove at shortstop. Now he can continue to develop and potentially crack a future roster as a utility infielder.

SB Nation | Tanya Bondurant and SB Nation Staff: Since it’s nearly Opening Day, that means that its time for predictions from around the blogosphere. Our own Andrew Mearns was on hand for this roundtable, as well as several other members of the SB Nation baseball crew, to discuss who they believe will walk away with season awards, which team will be the biggest surprise, and who will be crowned champion.