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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/30/21

Road trip delivers some but not all answers for Yanks; next homestand crucial to getting back above water; Higashioka and Sánchez set to split starting duties; Tauchman gets strong debut for Giants.

New York Yankees v. Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images | Betelhem Ashame: The Yankees ended their road trip with a disappointing extra-inning loss to the Orioles, but they still came away with a 5-3 record at the end of the day. There were some clear flaws still — namely, an offense that still has too many sinking bats — but a lot went right for the team after looking absolutely lifeless when they left the Bronx. Capitalizing on these improvements will be the key to turning the ship around, and if one or two more batters figure things out then the team might just get rolling.

NY Post | Joel Sherman: Speaking of the Bronx, the Yankees are back in town and facing a critical junction in their early season. It’s not because they’re facing off against divisional opponents — just the opposite, in fact. The homestand features a middle-of-the-pack Houston Astros team sandwiched by outright terrible teams in the Tigers and Nationals. If the Yankees are truly finding their way out of their slump, they need to make some noise during this stretch and at least end up back at .500 or better.

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: There’s only been minor lineup changes for the Yankees so far, and this one isn’t an outright change either — but it has the potential to be. Kyle Higashioka’s strong play, coupled with Gary Sánchez’s regression after a decent start, has led to the pair sharing starting time behind the plate. Sánchez hasn’t been outright demoted, but Aaron Boone was quite clear in saying that Higashioka had “just earned more playing time.” Higashioka is unlikely to keep up the .759 slugging mark that he’s put up so far, but it likely falls on Sánchez to earn back the lion’s share of the starts. | Randy Miller: The Yankees traded away Mike Tauchman this week, shipping him out to San Francisco, and the outfielder has already made a splash for the Giants. Tauchman went 3-for-4 in his debut for the team, albeit two of his hits were an infield single and a ball that hit the pitcher. Tauchman couldn’t get going with inconsistent playing time ever since his 2019 breakout season, so perhaps he can find his groove again as a regular out west.