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Yankees hire Matt Blake as their pitching coach

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The New York Yankees’ search for a pitching coach — which had them speak with David Cone and a couple of college coaches — is now over. And the new coach is neither Cone nor the college coaches. It’s Matt Blake, the pitching coordinator of the Cleveland Indians.

Blake actually had the title “Director of Pitching” bestowed on him by Cleveland the other day. Guess that wasn’t fancy enough to keep him from heading to the big city.

Blake had been a Yankees area scout before working for the Indians.  He also worked for a time with Cressey Sports Performance, which is a company that trains and helps develops ballplayers using biometrics and all manner of fancy stuff that is now in vogue.

Blake’s work with Cressy may be every bit as important as his experience with Cleveland or as a Yankees scout. He will be inheriting a pitching staff in which durability has been an issue and in which some pitchers have plateaued in their development. In hiring him, and in interviewing college coaches for that matter, the Yankees seem to be focused on a more granular and scientific approach geared toward developing young arms as opposed to an old school pitching coach’s approach.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.