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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/1/21

Florial not ready for majors; Voit excited to rejoin team; Reggie accepts job with Astros; potential for full crowds at Yankee Stadium in July; Yanks among first to reach an 85 percent vaccination rate

New York Yankees v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images | Brendan Kuty: A contingent of Yankees fans disappointed in Aaron Hicks’ performance in the outfield so far this season have been clamoring to give Yankees prospect Estevian Florial a go at playing center field. Scouts familiar with Florial’s play contend he is not ready for the big leagues just yet and needs to develop his ability to put the ball in play before seeing regular time in the majors. The Yankees organization has high hopes for Florial, who was once considered a premier prospect, though his progress through the minors has been stalled due to injuries and the pandemic.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Luke Voit has entered the final phases of his rehab and spent time in the Bronx on Friday. Voit, frustrated by having to sit out at the beginning of the season, can’t wait to get back in action. His teammates and the Yankees lineup miss Voit’s clubhouse presence and could really use his offensive power. The first baseman will play several games with the Somerset Patriots, New York’s new Double-A affiliate, before potentially rejoining the team for its May 11-20 road trip to Tampa, Baltimore and Texas.

Newsday | Anthony Rieber: Mr. October has gone to the dark side. Yankees legend and front-office adviser Reggie Jackson has a new job with the Houston Astros. Jackson temporarily retired in February after working for the Yankees in an adviser role since 1993. Jackson mentioned his close relationship with Astros owner Jim Crane when asked why he was motivated to accept the new gig. | Mike Rosenstein: Earlier this week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that beginning on Wednesday, May 19, outdoor stadiums in the city like Yankee Stadium and Citi Field can increase their spectator capacity from 20 percent to 33 percent as the state recovers from the pandemic. After the governor’s announcement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio upped the ante, stating his plan to have New York City fully reopened on July 1. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio appear to have different definitions of “fully,” but, nonetheless, being able to allow a full crowd in the Bronx by mid-summer would be a tremendous boon.

Twitter | Ken Rosenthal: No masks were required in the dugout during Friday’s game against the Tigers, as Friday night’s game was the first to occur between teams who had at least 85 percent of their Tier 1 personnel fully vaccinated against COVID-19.