Yankees to play exhibition games in Panama to honor Mariano Rivera

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This is pretty cool.

Mariano Rivera has talked about wanting the Yankees to play an exhibition game in his hometown of Panama City, Panama and now it’s happening.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that the Yankees will play two exhibition games against the Marlins in Panama on March 15 and March 16.

Should be a great scene, with Rivera no doubt being part of the festivities. And maybe Yankees manager Joe Girardi can give him a last-minute “come out of retirement, please” sales pitch.

Phillies promote Chris Young to pitching coach position

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Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.

Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.

The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.