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Yankees have mixed results with MLB’s redesigned baseball

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TAMPA — Sunday marked the first game of spring training for the Yankees, as well as their first experience playing with the redesigned baseball MLB is using this season that many believed won’t travel as far as in recent seasons.

Very early results were mixed.

There were some balls hit during batting practice, Aaron Judge said, that didn’t have as much distance on them as he and his teammates expected.

But in the game, a 6-4, seven-inning loss to the Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Judge hit one to deep center that surprised him by how close it came to being a homer.

“It went a little further than I thought,’’ he said of the fourth-inning shot. “I kind of got underneath it. I knew I missed it. But I saw it was near the track and thought maybe someone snuck in an old baseball for me.”

Overall, though, the Yankees didn’t see a noticeable change.

“It’s what I expected,’’ Judge said. “I noticed a little difference in batting practice. Balls that were turned on didn’t go the same, but in the game, I didn’t notice any difference.”

The same was true of Gleyber Torres, who said it was hard to tell how the ball reacts during spring training because of differences in ballparks and weather.

Aaron Judge at the plate during Sunday's exhibition.
Aaron Judge at the plate during Sunday’s exhibition.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Let’s see [if] there’s a big difference during the regular season,’’ Torres said.“If you and I flip the ball, you don’t notice much,’’ Boone said. “But guys that handle it for a living will probably have some opinion as the weeks go on.”

A better test may come Monday, when the Yankees host the Tigers and Gerrit Cole gets the start.

Cole has already been vocal about not knowing whether he was using the new balls early in camp.

Aaron Boone believes veteran pitchers will shed more light on the subject.


Mike Tauchman started in center field and followed a Rob Brantly homer with one of his own, as the Yankees went back-to-back in the bottom of the fifth.

Boone noted Tauchman “didn’t homer last year” as he attempts to find a spot in the Yankees’ crowded outfield.

“He feels really good early in camp, looks good moving around and looks good swinging the bat,’’ Boone said.

Clint Frazier, already designated the starting left fielder, appeared to get a bad jump on a shallow fly in the fourth but later in the inning did well to fight off the sun to make a nice catch in deep left.

“He’s earned his place here, but you’ve always got to earn it,’’ Boone said. “In the field [Sunday], I thought he was all right. … I thought he moved well on a couple balls he did catch.”


DJ LeMahieu was the Yankees’ first baserunner with a leadoff single to center in the bottom of the fourth after the first nine Yankees were retired. … Bronx native and Fordham Prep product Andrew Velazquez entered as a pinch runner in the fourth.


Fans weren’t the only ones allowed back into the stands Sunday. Scouts were also in attendance. … The Yankees will continue to wear a No. 16 patch on their sleeve in honor of Whitey Ford. They also wore it during the postseason after the Hall of Famer’s passing last October. … A moment of silence was held for Hank Steinbrenner, former general partner and co-chairperson of the Yankees, who died in April after a lengthy illness.

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Bulls’ Zach LaVine called cops on ‘obsessed’ fan at his home

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Zach LaVine had an unwanted visitor.

The Chicago Bulls star had to call the police after an “allegedly obsessed” woman showed up to his Chicago home and refused to leave on Thursday night, according to TMZ. 

The woman reportedly traveled from out of state, demanding to speak with the first-time All-Star, who was home at the time.

Police took her a local hospital for mental evaluation, and she has not been formally arrested or charged with a crime.

LaVine, 25, wrapped up first-half action with the Bulls on Wednesday and was drafted to Kevin Durant’s All-Star side for Sunday’s festivities in Atlanta.

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Blake Griffin a free agent after Pistons buyout

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Blake Griffin will be free to sign with the Nets or another interested NBA team after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons.

The six-time All-Star forward “has interest from most of the NBA’s top playoff contenders and is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams,” ESPN reported.

The Nets, Lakers, Heat, Warriors and Clippers – his former team — are among those that have expressed interest, according to the New York Times. ESPN.com added that the Blazers are interested

The 31-year-old Griffin hasn’t played since Feb. 12 while the Pistons attempted to trade him before the March 25 deadline, but they found no takers due to the remainder of his $36.6 million salary for this season and the $39 million he’s owed for 2021-22.

Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
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Griffin is averaging a career-low 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 games this season. He was dealt by the Clippers to Detroit in 2018, during the first season of a five-year extension worth $171 million.



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Broncos send a pretty strong warning to Drew Lock

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Drew Lock is no lock to remain the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2021.

General manager George Paton and coach Vic Fangio both said Thursday that the team expects to bring in competition for Lock, possibly with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft.

“Obviously we’re always looking to bring in players at all positions that can raise the level of competition, and the quarterback is no different in that regard,” Fangio said, according to the team’s website.

“Until we get or until Drew proves to be the next great quarterback, like the ones that the Denver franchise has been used to in years past or certain teams around the league … are used to, we’re going to always try and bring in competition. But I have confidence that Drew can continue to improve.”

Lock made 13 starts in 2020 and tied with Carson Wentz for the league lead with 15 interceptions. He finished 32nd in the league among qualifying quarterbacks with a 75.4 passer rating, ahead of only Dwayne Haskins, Wentz and Sam Darnold.

Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
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“Very talented, was inconsistent at times, has a lot to work on,” Paton said Thursday. “But I’ve spoken with Drew, I see him every day. He’s here early. He’s working. He really wants to be great. And we’re always going to try to bring in competition at every position, and quarterback as well. But I like the track that Drew’s on.”

Lock, the Broncos’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Missouri, had started five games as a rookie, winning four of them. Denver went 4-9 with him as the starter last season.

“I’m confident that Drew’s going to continue to improve,” Fangio said. “Drew’s had a great offseason up to this point. There’s not a lot you can do, but he’s working hard on his own, coming over here and getting workouts, and I know he’s doing a lot at home by himself, watching video by himself. He’s got a good setup over there. And he’s doing anything and everything he can to improve, even in February and now in March.”

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