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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/13/22

The Yankees are still a home run-or-bust team; Joey Gallo’s swing back on track; making sense out of the Hicks-Judge-Stanton alignment; the reasons behind Nestor Cortes’s popularity; Paul O’Neill’s vaccination status.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

New York Post | Joel Sherman: Over the winter — uh, I mean in the month of March — the Yankees tried to retool a lineup that struggled to score runs in 2022 by shipping out Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela and adding Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Ben Rortvedt. Despite this move, however, the Yankees lineup is still built using the same formula that they have in recent years: the long ball. In 2018 and 2019, that formula worked very well; in 2020 and 2021, not so much.

Sports Illustrated | Max Goodman: According to the man himself, Joey Gallo’s swing “was a little off” after being traded to the Yankees at the deadline last summer. This past winter, the outfielder took some time off from swinging the bat to let his mechanics get back in order, and so far this spring, the adjustments have paid off. While the miniscule sample size of the season’s first weekend is obviously too early to draw any major conclusions, Gallo has hit the ball with authority on a regular basis, with six of his first eight batted balls registering an exit velocity north of 97 mph. Although he’s still looking for his first long ball of the season, that’s an indication of good things to come. | Randy Miller: Talking to the media before last night’s game, manager Aaron Boone talked about the team’s decision to start Aaron Hicks in left and Aaron Judge in center last night with Joey Gallo on the bench. Ultimately, it boils down to outfield defense — he wanted one of the team’s speedier outfielders in left field, but did not want to have Judge play all three outfield positions. Thus, the Hicks-Judge-Stanton alignment came into existence.

Newsday | Anthony Rieber: If you said at the start of the 2021 season that Nestor Cortes would be as popular with the Yankee fanbase as Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole, you would be absolutely floored. And yet, when the crafty lefty’s name was called on Opening Day, the cheer that arose from the Bronx faithful was comparable to the team’s superstar. Rieber dives into the question, wondering whether it’s the funky delivery, his famous ‘stache, the turtle Bronxie, or some combination thereof. (Our very own Andrew Mearns joined the debate, too.)

New York Post | Andrew Marchand: Earlier this spring, it was revealed that the YES Network broadcasters were finally headed back on the road, something that did not happen in either 2020 or 2021 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. And yet, when Paul O’Neill made his first appearance on a YES broadcast this season, he was still in Studio 21, the name affectionately given to the basement of his house from which he broadcast games the last two seasons. Although the network has attributed the setup to “family issues,” sources have told Marchand that YES requires its employees to be vaccinated in order to be present at the stadium for the games, suggesting that O’Neill has not yet received the vaccine.

O’Neill did not comment on his vaccination status, although he did mention that he was originally scheduled for the first two games of the season and that, after this week, he is not on the schedule again until May.