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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/28/23

Josh Donaldson feels focused; Yankees being cautious with DJ, Rizzo; how the strike zone has changed

New York Yankees Photo Day Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

New York Post | Mark W. Sanchez: Last year was a challenge for Josh Donaldson, his worst offensive season since he was a rookie. The Yankee third baseman admitted that he let his struggles get to him by the end of the year, and he certainly didn’t look like an MLB regular during the club’s playoff run. He’s since started his offseason workouts earlier than ever before, and self-described entering camp with a new focus and new intensity. A bounceback from Donaldson is critical to lengthening the Yankee lineup, and hopefully this new mindset helps spur it. | Randy Miller: Through the first four exhibition games this spring, neither DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo nor Giancarlo Stanton have found themselves in the starting lineup. The Yankees have been cautious with their veteran hitters, all three of whom saw IL time last year, and announced that they won’t see spring training action until Wednesday against the Nationals. Like with Donaldson above, having depth bats behind Aaron Judge will make a huge difference in the performance of the ballclub, and the club taking caution to avoid further nagging injuries is one way to help build that depth.

FanGraphs | Davy Andrews: The Yankees have been on the cutting edge of pitch framing for almost 15 years, and last year had one of the best tandems in recent history in Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka. In the era of pitch framing, the strike zone enforced by umpires has itself changed, and the focus of framing has shifted from “stealing” strikes to keeping strikes strikes, ie, not messing up your framing and costing a pitcher unnecessary balls.