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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/18/16

Gardner regaining his All-Star form; Tanaka delivered a much need lengthy start; The tough decisions that go into building a World Series contender; Swisher has something to prove

No more oven mitt means a brand new Gardner.
No more oven mitt means a brand new Gardner.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports | Ryan Hatch: After stealing a base and scoring from third on a wild pitch barely behind the catcher, Brett Gardner is finally starting to look like the All-Star he was in the first half of 2015. Since he didn't take any swings all winter and sat out the first three weeks of spring training, consistent at-bats could be helping with his timing.

The Wall Street Journal | Jared Diamond: The 2016 Yankees have a simple plan for their pitchers: have the starters go and hold on to a lead long enough to get the ball to the bullpen who will take care of business. On Sunday, Masahiro Tanaka did just that by having the best pitching performance of any Yankee starter in this young season. Tanaka credits warmer temperatures, time, and possibly the emotion of facing a former teammate for his better performance.

The New York Times | William C. Rhoden: Trying to compete for and win a World Series title requires making tough decisions, but general managers have to do their best to keep emotion out of it. With it being the 20th anniversary of the 1996 World Series, Rhoden profiles then-GM Bob Watson and the difficulties he faced, including not re-signing Don Mattingly and convincing George Steinbrenner to not trade Andy Pettitte and Bernie Williams for Chuck Knoblauch. | Joe Giglio: Recently re-signed to a minor league deal, Nick Swisher went on WFAN and spoke to Ed Randall about coming back to the Yankees organization and to a city he loves and holds dear to his heart. He says timing and direction were reasons for the Braves parting ways with him rather than poor performance. The 1B/OF/DH says he still has something left in the tank and refuses to go out without a fight.