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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 9/25/17

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Judge one shy of tying McGwire; Girardi focused on now, not contract; Wild Card seems inevitable

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Judge wouldn’t fit in the picture if he stood up straight
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports | Bryan Hoch: Though it seems most of the Yankees were possibly nursing a playoff clinching hangover, one Yankee definitely came ready to play on Sunday. Aaron Judge hit his 47th and 48th home runs of the season and is now officially one home run shy of tying Mark McGwire for the rookie single-season home run record. Here’s hoping he can get two more before the end of the season. | Pete Caldera: Joe Girardi’s contract with the Yankees is up after this season. Of course the Yankees famously don’t hand out contract extensions or negotiate in-season, so any potential deal with Girardi will definitely come over the winter. For his part, Girardi isn’t focused or even thinking about 2018 and beyond. Instead, he’s just focusing on this year as his squad just clinched a playoff berth again.

New York Post | George A. King III: The Yankees came into the Blue Jays series needing to win at least two in order to gain steam in their chase for the division. Unfortunately, they ended up losing two out of three and not really closing the gap between themselves and the Red Sox. The tragic number for the division is down to three, and while they’re still “in it,” the Yankees have started to have a more realistic outlook that they’ll be playing a Wild Card game.