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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/11/22

Manfred on the state of the lockout; center field options; first-pitch strikes

MLB: ALDS-Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | Ryan Glasspiegel: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred held court with a press gaggle yesterday, offering the league’s side of the story in regards to baseball’s ongoing lockout. While optimistic that regular season games would start on time, Manfred wouldn’t go any further than discussing the agreements on universal DH and the dropped draft pick compensation. He also, lamely, remarked on the apparent financial risk of being an owner. The trio of NJ beat writers comes together once again, this time to discuss center field for the 2022 Yankees. Aaron Hicks did not have a good 2021, looking a step slower, coming off of Tommy John surgery, and eventually shelved by a torn wrist sheath. Still, he was excellent — 124 wRC+ and a 5.5 win pace — in the pandemic-shortened 2020, and with a dearth of outside options, might still be the best choice to man center for the Yankees.

FanGraphs | Ben Clemens: There’s little real baseball to talk about, but Ben brings us a good conversation about pitchers in two classes — those that throw first pitch strikes, and those that don’t. It’s generally a really good idea to throw first pitch strikes, but guys that don’t, including Corbin Burnes, still carry a few tools in their kits to work around that problem.