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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/22/23

Volpe starts spring training early; Judge to left and reasons for not playing in the WBC; News on a former prospect and first baseman

Division Series - Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees - Game Five Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

New York Post | Greg Joyce: There are plenty of possible outcomes for the shortstop position by the end of spring training. Anthony Volpe went down to Florida to start training early to get a head start. He believes that getting ahead will lead to future success and help him claim the position for Opening Day. Volpe talked about how his first big league camp is a “cool opportunity” and is willing to play wherever on the field. He took reps with players from the main roster, which he also commented on in the article as well. There were comments earlier in the offseason that he may end up being a midseason call-up, but clearly, Volpe believes he can make a major league impact earlier than that.

New York Post | Joel Sherman: Another position that comes with some “controversy” for lack of a better term heading into the upcoming MLB season is left field. Aaron Boone wants to get Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield, but that requires moving Aaron Judge around. With Harrison Bader at the helm in center field, it may mean that Judge will have to play in left field when Stanton is in the outfield. It says in the article that Bader may also get some reps in left, but considering his elite ability in the middle of the outfield, that seems far less likely than Judge (when he's not the designated hitter). How will Judge handle the shift to the opposite side if Boone goes through with it? Only time will tell.

Fox Sports | Deesha Thosar: Judge also talked about his decision not to play in the World Baseball Classic with Thosar. The primary message he wanted to send was that he is focused on the Yankees. He wants to win a World Series in The Bronx, and because he signed a new contract, he believes that he owes it to the fans to have the entirety of his focus on the pinstripes. Judge did hint that he could be tempted to appear for Team USA during the next go-around though, when he’s not at the beginning of a new contract. | Mark Rosenstein: One of the big recent topics surrounding the Yankees is Frankie Montas and his unfortunate injury requiring shoulder surgery, which may leave him out of the 2023 season. One of the returning pieces who went to the Oakland Athletics in the deal was Ken Waldichuk. He was ranked as one of MLB’s top prospects (ranked third overall among lefty pitching prospects) and will be an impactful piece in the A’s rotation. Over the offseason, he’s focused on his offspeed pitches, and there may come a time when Yankees fans see him don the green and gold during the 2023 regular season.

MLB Trade Rumors | Steve Adams: Finally, for the last bit of information regarding former Yankees, Luke Voit signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Yankees fans know what the big first baseman can do at the plate, as he won the MLB home run title in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season. He hit 22 home runs last season between the Padres and the Washington Nationals, and even though he hasn’t been the same hitter he was with the Yankees, he could still provide value in the batter’s box from the middle or toward the lower end of the lineup. One of the big concerns is his health and whether Voit can keep his body up to speed through the rigors of the 162-game schedule.