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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/25/23

Yankees open spring training with the Martian in the lineup; Loáisiga needs to adjust to the pitch clock era; Boone sees IKF as the Yankees’ emergency catcher again; Cortés looks good in live batting practice

NL Fall Stars v AL Fall Stars Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images

New York Daily News | James O’Connell: Spring training is already underway for most teams, but the Yankees will take the field for the first time today against the Philadelphia Phillies. The game will start at 1:05 PM ET and will be played at BayCare Ballpark, in Clearwater, FL.

Winter signing Tyler Danish will take the ball for New York, while former Yankee Nick Nelson will be the starter for the Phillies. Bombers’ prospect Jasson Domínguez will be in the lineup.

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: Kenley Jansen is notoriously slow between pitches. There are a couple of Yankees that have to adjust, too, or risk having too many balls added to their counts during the pitch clock era. Judging by Statcast’s Pitch Tempo data, which measures the median time between pitch releases, Jonathan Loáisiga took the longest time between pitches with the bases empty. | Randy Miller: José Treviño is the Yankees’ starting catcher, and Kyle Higashioka is the backup. With Ben Rortvedt being shut down for a month and sidelined for at least several additional weeks with an aneurysm in his left shoulder, the third catcher landscape is a bit murky at the moment.

The Yankees have other catchers in training camp: Josh Breaux, Rodolfo Duran, Carlos Narvaez, Anthony Seigler and Austin Wells. But they have little to no experience in Triple-A, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa started 66 games at catcher for the Texas Rangers from 2018-19.

“We don’t have right now that journeyman, that third or fourth catcher with a lot of big-league experience or sometimes any big league experience. But our catching depth in the organization is really good,” Aaron Boone said.

He does seem to view IKF as the emergency option at catcher in 2023, a role he “occupied” in 2022, though he didn’t actually appear in a game behind the plate. “I don’t know that I’d use him in a game in spring training,” Boone said. “I’m sure we’ll pick a day or two where he does some things behind the scenes, but I would view him more as once the season gets here as that emergency option,” Boone revealed. | Joey Johnston: Yankees’ left-hander Néstor Cortés Jr. faced five batters and looked good in the process. He is recovering from a strained right hamstring and is trending towards being ready for Opening Day.

Boone was happy with what he saw from Cortés on Thursday, at the live batting practice session at Steinbrenner Field. He is even on schedule to work in Spring Training games.

His command was on point and he used his changeup. “I thought actually I was a lot better than what I thought I would be,’’ Cortes said. “Just because in my first live [batting practice], I didn’t know how my leg was going to react with the intensity and facing those guys, so I thought it was a lot better than I expected.’’

The plan is for the southpaw to pitch in another live batting practice setting before being inserted into a spring training game.