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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/19/22

MLB officially delays start of spring training; Cam Maybin joins YES booth; DJ LeMahieu won’t blame 2021 on past hitting coaches; Jordan Montgomery can raise ceiling if he better harnesses his fastball

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | Ken Davidoff: It’s official: Major League Baseball has delayed spring training as the negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA continue to move at a snail’s pace. According to the league, exhibition games will now start “no earlier than” March 5, rather than the original slated date of Feb. 26. “We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side,” the league said in a statement. “On Monday, members of the owners’ bargaining committee will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association and remain every day next week to negotiate and work hard towards starting the season on time.”

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: After the 2021 season came to a close for the Yankees, the team fired hitting coach Marcus Thames and his assistant P.J. Pilittere after a rollercoaster season for New York at the plate. However, DJ LeMahieu regrets that coaches took the brunt of the blame. “We didn’t play up to our capabilities, it’s that simple,” LeMahieu said. “It wasn’t their fault by any means. It’s not on them. They were the guys that helped us get to where we were the previous few years.” Thames is now the Marlins’ new hitting coach, and Pilittere was was hired by the Rockies.

FanGraphs | Jake Mailhot: Jordan Montgomery played a big role behind Gerrit Cole in the rotation last season. Monty posted the highest strikeout rate of his career last season, but almost all of those Ks were with his secondary pitches—his changeup and curveball. Those are his two elite pitches, but the fastball is holding back his potential to be even better. “I felt like that was the one thing that was holding me back from being top-tier,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s just me not being loose on the mound when I need to throw it. Like, I just need to relax and trust it, but it’s hard to let that go. It’s just something that I need to be confident in to execute.” To reach his ceiling, Monty needs to figure out how to best use his fastballs.

And in YES Network news, Cameron Maybin was added as an analyst for the 2022 season. Maybin endeared himself to fans during 2019, when he served as a productive member of the Next Man Up brigade. Maybin always appeared as a bright personality even during his playing days, so he should make for a fine addition to Yankees broadcasts.