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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/2/21

Clint Frazier exalts in long-awaited Opening Day debut; Yankees enjoy fans back in the stands; Guiding the pitching staff through a long season; CC Sabathia & Ryan Ruocco preview 2021

Toronto Blue Jays v. New York Yankees Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Bergen Record | Pete Caldera: Aside from Gary Sánchez, one of the few bright spots in the Opening Day lineup was Clint Frazier, who cherished his first opportunity to start in the Yankees’ inaugural game of the season. He admitted that he had previously been a little bitter in his desperation to finally get a real, lasting shot with the Yankees as he ping-ponged between the majors and minors until joining the club for good a few weeks into 2020. Frazier knows that he’ll have to work to keep his job in this competitive environment, but hey, the more multi-hit games like Thursday, the better!

New York Times | James Wagner: Game recaps of losses aren’t often linked in the morning news and notes, but Wagner happened to weave in some nice quotes from the Yankees’ players about the simple feeling of being back at Yankee Stadium with fans roaring in the stands. It was completely justified to avoid them for safety in 2020, but baseball — and the canned crowd noise — just wasn’t the same. Aaron Judge didn’t even mind when one fan got a little too handsy with a fly ball that he caught, saying “It’s their first time back at a stadium in a long time ... I’ll give them that one.”

NY Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Aaron Boone and Matt Blake are among many Yankees staffers keeping a very close eye on how the pitching staff maneuvers its way through the first half of a 162-game season after the shortened 2020. Blake noted that once they’ve passed the 60-game threshold in June and July, the fatigue might set in, and the team will undoubtedly have to count on the homegrown depth that they’ve assembled to step up. Deivi García, Clarke Schmidt, Nick Nelson, and Michael King will get their chances.

The Ringer | Ryan Ruocco & CC Sabathia: Still looking for a good 2021 season preview podcast to pass the time on this off-day? (After listening to our own, of course). “R2C2” is still a terrific show, and the Yankees announcer and former ace continue to have terrific, engaging banter. Although this was a more MLB-wide preview, the Yankee-affiliated hosts definitely shifted the conversations more in the pinstripers’ direction than any other team. Plus, you get to hear Sabathia make fun of Chris Russo, so who wouldn’t love that?