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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/20/23

Two Yanks cut after yesterday’s game; Cole among those watching shortstop battle; Kahnle frustrated with injuries; an interview with Minaya

New York Yankees Spring Training Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images | Randy Miller: Day by day, the Opening Day roster continues to take shape, as the Yankees cut a pair of left-handed bats after yesterday’s game, first baseman Jake Bauers and first baseman/corner outfielder Billy McKinney. Originally acquired from the Reds in exchange for cash last summer, Bauers re-signed with the Yankees on a minor league deal in December to serve as depth in case Anthony Rizzo’s back sidelines him for a significant chunk of time. McKinney, a former Yankees farmhand who had been shipped to the Blue Jays in the deal that brought J.A. Happ to the Bronx, can also serve as first base depth, although he also entered camp as a long shot candidate in the left field battle. Expect to see them at Triple-A in 2023, barring opt-outs. | Bryan Hoch: As spring training moves into its final leg, everybody is wondering who will be the Opening Day starter at shortstop for the New York Yankees — including the players themselves! Speaking to reporters after yesterday’s game, ace Gerrit Cole, who is projected to start on Opening Day for the fourth straight year for the Bronx Bombers, praised both Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe, the two prospects considered to be the frontrunners for the position, saying that the Yankees have “no bad choice” between them. | Max Goodman: “I’m sick of rehabbing,” Tommy Kahnle said while changing into workout clothes at his locker. It’s easy to understand why — the high-energy reliever has spent the majority of the last three years rehabbing from injuries: after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020 that caused him to miss the 2021 season, right forearm inflammation shut him down for four months. This spring, right biceps inflammation shut him down again, and this past weekend, he suffered a setback that conclusively ruled out the possibility of being ready for Opening Day. At this point, Kahnle refuses to put a timetable on his return, instead preferring to just go “step by step.” | Bob Klapisch: Former Mets general manager Omar Minaya joined the Yankees front office this past winter, a move that apparently Yankees GM Brian Cashman has kept on the table for years now. Sitting down with Bob Klapisch, Minaya discussed his Mets career, the decision to change boroughs, his relationship with Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner, top prospect Anthony Volpe, and the burgeoning basketball career of his son Justin.