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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/18/18

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Florial exits with sore wrist, Sheffield on track for return; Team sleeps at the airport; Judge improving with worse strike zone; A look at the AL East; 20th anniversary of Wells’ perfect game

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Pittsburgh Pirates Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | Dan Martin: Top prospect Estevan Florial left his game yesterday with a sore right wrist. Florial is off to a slow start for High-A Tampa, especially compared to last year. Hopefully this wrist issue isn’t too big and he can take a few days off to sort of refresh. In better prospect injury news: Justus Sheffield, who was placed on the disabled list last week with shoulder stiffness, is making progress. He’s expected to be activated in time to make his next start for the Triple-A RailRiders.

Newsday | Erik Boland: After essentially getting four off days, the Royals are set to host the Yankees this weekend. Yes, Missouri loves company. Yes, I love that joke so much I’ll repeat it any chance I get. After being scheduled to leave D.C. Wednesday night, the Yankees ended up leaving Thursday morning because the weather was so bad their flight kept getting delayed. They spent 12 hours overnight at the airport. I wonder if anyone reached out to Tom Hanks for some tips.

FanGraphs | Travis Sawchik: Did you know Aaron Judge is good at baseball? We learned last year just how good Judge is at baseball last year. What wasn’t expected is what he’s done this year. Judge has actually been better, which seemed impossible, this year than he was last year. A few days ago, we talked about how Judge has improved against breaking pitches. He’s also been swinging out of the zone less and he’s chasing less. What’s crazy is that he’s doing this with an even worse strike zone than last year, specifically down low.

Judge has seen 160 pitches in the borderline, 50-50 area at the bottom of the zone (according to Baseball Savant’s detailed zone) and 71 have been called as strikes, for a 44.3% strike rate. The league average is 22.8%.

MLB.com | Bill Chastain: The first quarter of the season is over, so this piece takes a look at all the teams in the AL East thus far. For the Yankees, we learned that this team just might live up to all the pre-season hype. It’ll also be interesting to keep an eye on Judge to see if keeps up with his early-season adjustments/improvements.

Cut4 | Andrew MEARNS!: Yesterday, was the 20th anniversary of Beanie Baby Day at Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, no one ever remembers that because David Wells’ decided to steal the Beanie Babies’ thunder and pitch a perfect game. What a jerk. Friend of the site, David Cone, might actually be the true villain though. To avoid jinxing him, Wells was left alone in the dugout in between innings, but Wells was normally quite chatty. The quiet might’ve made Wells anxious and saved Beanie Baby Day, but Cone went over to Wells and eased the tension and the rest was history. I guess nobody is perfect, except Wells in this case.