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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 4/5/15

Tanaka says to expect lower velocity this season; McCann talks defensive shifts and bunting; Numerous teams have made it to the postseason without having one set closer the entire year.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN New York | Andrew Marchand: A couple of weeks ago Masahiro Tanaka said that his velocity was lower because he was working on his two-seamer, and now he says that the Yankees can expect it to be lower all season as he tries to "establish a certain pitching style."

Newsday | Eric Boland: Going into spring training, the media expected that Alex Rodriguez's return to the team would be a "distraction," but he didn't really draw any extra attention to himself. | Brendan Kuty: Brian McCann is determined to beat defensive shifts against him this year, even if that means dropping a bunt here or there. | Andrew Simon: The Yankees and Rays both appear to be starting the season without a set closer, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Several teams that have made it to the postseason over the past few seasons have switched between closers during the season.

LoHud Yankees Blog | Chad Jennings: John Ryan Murphy will be the Yankees' backup catcher, which means that Austin Romine has been designated for assignment. They have a few days to try to trade him or risk putting him through waivers.