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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/13/21

Yankees give Hicks mental health day; Taillon unfazed by Dunedin start; Cole and HIgashioka on a roll; Jasson Dominguez profiled by MiLB

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

New York Post | Ken Davidoff: Aaron Hicks wasn’t in the Yankees’ starting lineup on Monday night, but while he is off to a rough start in 2021, it wasn’t because of his performance. After reckoning with the emotions of the death of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, MN, the former homegrown Twins outfielder asked skipper Aaron Boone if it was OK to take a mental health day. This is an excellent article from Davidoff on the importance of allowing athletes to grapple with such serious issues. It’s been a long year and change, and we all sometimes need that kind of support in our lives.

Newsday | Erik Boland: Much like last year, the Yankees have to deal with an unusual setup in their road games against the Blue Jays, this time playing at Toronto’s spring training complex in Dunedin rather than Triple-A Buffalo (though that will come later in 2021). Tonight’s starter, Jameson Taillon, was asked about pitching in such an unusual locale since he didn’t have to deal with that in 2020 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and it was clear that he wasn’t fazed. Taillon noted that he’d pitched plenty of spring contests in Dunedin, and also: “You could put two major-league teams in a municipal park somewhere and we’re going to find a way to compete and make it work.”

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: The Gerrit Cole/Kyle Higashioka tandem worked well again on Monday night, as Higashioka was able to coax Cole through a rough beginning and some annoyance with the Dunedin mound. After the game, Boone said that Higashioka would indeed be catching Cole “a lot” in 2021, as it’s both effective and allows for an easy opportunity to give Gary Sánchez a day off. However, Boone did say that Sánchez will still occasionally catch Cole too, as Boone also liked how they looked on Opening Day. | Rob Terranova: Yankees uber-prospect Jasson Dominguez was profiled as part of an MiLB series on the best young prospects around the game. Although farm director Kevin Reese is rightfully trying to keep expectations reasonable, it’s hard not to get excited about the 18-year-old when we hear this kind of recent report:

The switch-hitting center fielder did not spend any time at the Yankees alternate training site last season, but he has already exhibited exceptional power, speed, range and arm strength while participating at instructional camp in Florida. Scouts are quick to laud Dominguez for his 30/30 potential.