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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/12/21

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Two Yankees coaches test positive for COVID-19; What’s behind Giancarlo Stanton’s hot start; Analyzing the state of baseball; Alex Rodriguez’s NBA deal in limbo

Tampa Bay Rays v. New York Yankees

SNY | Coby Green: The Yankees received some unexpected and unfortunate news on Tuesday with the announcement that third-base coach Phil Nevin tested positive for COVID-19. Nevin had been fully vaccinated, but still tested positive with a “breakthrough case.” Nevin is doing well, but he and fellow Yankees coach Reggie Willits are quarantining. Willits’ own positive test was reported after the game (along with a support staff member). No players were considered close contacts, and according to Gerrit Cole, the team will continue to play through its schedule. More than 85 percent of the Yankees’ roster is vaccinated.

MLB | Sarah Langs: It’s no secret that Giancarlo Stanton has been positively dominant this season, and unsurprisingly, his analytics are off the charts. Langs looks into what’s behind Stanton’s big start — he’s improved his plate discipline, is feasting on pitches in the zone, is using the whole field, and hitting the ball harder than ever. If this keeps up, the next phase of the discussion will shift to Stanton’s MVP chances as a designated hitter.

ESPN: This one’s a long read, but an important one. ESPN’s crew of baseball writers got together to analyze the state of the game — there’s commentary on issues like defensive shifts, pace of play, baseball’s marketing strategy, and the upcoming CBA negotiations. The big takeaway? Baseball has to decide what it wants to be in the next few years and come up with an identity, something its decision-makers have had a hard time doing in recent years.

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: It was reported last month that Alex Rodriguez was set to become a part-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team, but it seems that things have hit a snag. Rodriguez and his partner, billionaire Marc Lore, reportedly haven’t finalized an agreement to purchase the Timberwolves within the 30-day negotiating window the league had set up. With time running out, it looks like Rodriguez might miss out on his second attempt at buying a professional sports franchise, after his ill-fated attempt to buy the New York Mets. It’s certainly been an eventful few weeks for Rodriguez, but not in the way he had hoped.