clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/14/23

Yankees mourn passing of Joe Pepitone; García has a realistic shot at a roster spot; Florial floundering despite outfield opportunties; Donaldson would’ve retired if he wasn’t confident in comeback.

MLB Photos Archive Photo by Louis Requena/MLB via Getty Images

CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: The Yankees mourned the passing of one of their franchise’s most beloved players on Monday, when news came that Joe Pepitone had died at the age of 82. Pepitone was a mainstay of the team throughout the 1960s, winning two pennants with the organization as a player and returning briefly as a coach in the ‘80s. He was an Old-Timers’ Day regular and amusingly once made waves as the first player to bring a hair dryer into the locker room.

The Yankees put out a statement, not only praising the three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner’s career accomplishments, but highlighting that “as a native New Yorker, he embraced everything about being a Yankee during both his playing career ... and in the decades thereafter.”

Rest in peace Joe. We all appreciate you for what you brought to the city and the game.

Dan Brink | CJ Haddad: The Yankees’ pitching depth has obviously taken a toll with the injuries to Carlos Rodón and Frankie Montas, likely elevating Domingo Germán and Clarke Schmidt to starting roles in the rotation. That chain reaction has opened a door for Deivi García, once an afterthought after crashing down to Earth in the minors for the past two seasons, to get another chance in pinstripes. García has had a solid spring and, with no remaining minor league options, would need to be rostered, traded, or released on Opening Day. Now he may have a role, if temporary, in the bullpen to get an extended final look. | Randy Miller: There was already a spring competition underway for one outfield spot, but with Harrison Bader now sidelined for several weeks a second starting role is under consideration. You might think that should open the door for Estevan Florial to crack the roster even with Aaron Hicks assumed to be one of those starters, but he’s had a hard time making much of an impact in camp and he faces a challenger in Rafael Ortega for that final nod. Ortega has more MLB experience, and in 2021 had a breakthrough year with the Cubs that could lean the decision in his favor over Florial who, despite being in the organization for many years and making numerous callups, has been extremely slow to develop.

NY Post | Jon Heyman: Josh Donaldson is well aware of how poor his 2022 was offensively, but he doesn’t seem ready to call that his baseline yet. Donaldson told Heyman that if he didn’t feel like he could live up to his past production still then he would have chosen retirement over returning for this season, but Donaldson clearly believes that his weak production was an aberration. He’s got a lot of pressure already to perform, but it means nothing if he doesn’t have the confidence — for now, he clearly does.