The Yankees also designated first baseman/DH Greg Bird and left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. for assignment.Bird, 27, struggled with multiple injuries, as well, but he was a left-handed power source when healthy and playing. He hit 32 home runs in 700 plate appearances over four seasons (2015, 2017-19) and homered three more times in the 2017 playoffs.Cortes, 24, was best known for being the semi-regular “bulk” reliever after opener Chad Green last season. The Yankees on Wednesday released outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who had not played for the club since the 2017 American League playoffs.Ellsbury, 36, had been sidelined by assorted lower-body injuries. He is due $21.1 million in 2020, and the Yankees held a $21 million option for 2021 with a $5 million buyout, meaning he will receive about $26.1 million overall from the team. New York signed Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million contract in December 2013. SN’s MLB FA RANKINGS: Rendon, Cole lead the listNew York released Ellsbury just before the 8 p.m. ET deadline for MLB teams to protect minor league players from the Rule 5 draft in December. Ellsbury’s release cleared a spot on the Yankees’ 40-man roster for one of the seven prospects the team added Wednesday. Ellsbury produced just 8.1 fWAR (9.9 bWAR) during his Yankees tenure, led by a 3.6 tally in 2014, his first season with the club. He put up 9.5 fWAR for the Red Sox in 2011, a season that turned out to be an extreme outlier. His 32 home runs, 39 stolen bases and 150 wRC+ that year made him a free-agent prize two winters later, even though he missed about half of the 2012 season in Boston with a shoulder injury. Ellsbury’s physical problems with the Yankees began in 2015 when he was sidelined by a knee sprain. He suffered a concussion in 2017, and then an oblique strain helped cost him the 2018 campaign. He sat out the 2019 season to recover from hip surgery and subsequent setbacks. He averaged 130 games played for the Bombers from 2014-17.RIVERA: What I learned sitting in a car with Joe TorreNew York’s outfield now consists of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, an injured Aaron Hicks, Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier and prospect Estevan Florial. The Yankees reportedly are interested in re-signing free agent Brett Gardner.
47 year old William Hawkins is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a 95-year-old man in a nursing home in Port St. Lucie. On Jan. 5, police responded to the Tiffany Hall Nursing Home after receiving a 9-11 call about someone trying to smother a patient.Officers arrived and found a man dead.A certified nursing assistant told police he saw a bald-headed man wearing a dark sweater or jacket and shorts, enter the victim’s room. A short time later, the assistant told the victim’s nurse that an unknown man entered the victim’s room. The nurse saw the stranger in the victim’s room and alerted others.Staffers told investigators that the intruder must’ve had an access code to get into the facility. The executive director of the rehabilitation center told police the patient’s family had 24/7 access to the facility.Later in the morning, detectives identified Hawkins as a possible suspect after looking at names on the victim’s visitors list and comparing descriptions from witnesses. The arrest report says Hawkins had visited Morell at least five times at the nursing home and knew where his room was.Police say the motive may have been money, according to the suspect’s sister, “When their father died, they were supposed to get a large inheritance and they didn’t.”Police arrested Hawkins on the murder charge while he was in custody last week. He was initially arrested on Jan. 6, one day after the murder on grand theft, trespassing, petit theft and burglary charges.A staff member told detectives that she received a call from the Morell’s girlfriend earlier that afternoon. She said she had Power of Attorney and didn’t want Hawkins visiting Morell for fear that he would try to kill him by injecting insulin into his feeding tube. The victim’s girlfriend told police that she was in a relationship with Hawkins and that the victim knew about it.Police say GPS data in Hawkins phone shows he was at the nursing home at the time of the murder.Hawkins, according to police, broke into the victim’s girlfriend’s condo and stole her car keys one the day before the murder. Police found her car submerged in water and abandoned near 1400 E. Midway Road.Morell had been at the facility since Sept. 2019 following a procedure at a hospital to get a feeding tube installed. The autopsy showed he suffered broken or fractured ribs.