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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/2/18

Yankees set club record for homers before All-Star break; Luis Severino is the hardest throwing starter in baseball; Need to deal for starter clear after Gray gets slammed; Cashman putting pressure on Mets; Gary Sanchez on track to return around break.

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images | Mandy Bell: The Yankees have set a franchise record for home runs before the All-Star break. Last night, they tied the mark of 134 held by the 2002 and ‘12 squads when Aaron Hicks homered off of David Price in the second inning. The record-breaking blast came courtesy of Kyle Higashioka in the fourth inning. Hicks homered two more times, becoming the first Yankee since Alex Rodriguez in 2015 to produce a three-homer game. Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres had homered in the first inning, giving the Bombers six on the day, and 137 on the year. The Yankees didn’t just accomplish the feat before the break, they did it in only 81 games. The team is on pace to shatter MLB’s single-season record of 264 set by the Seattle Mariners in 1997.

Cut 4 | Jordan Shusterman: Luis Severino is the hardest throwing starter in baseball. This season, Severino’s fastball has averaged 97.7 mph, the highest among all starting pitchers. About 6.9% of his pitches have been at least 99 mph. On Tuesday against the Phillies, Severino registered his highest velocity of the season, striking out Odubel Herrera on a 100.6 mph pitch. Sevy’s final pitch last night — his 99th of the outing — clocked in at 100 mph.

New York Daily News | John Harper: The Yankees’ need to deal for another starter has never been more clear after Sonny Gray gets slammed by Red Sox. “If I was out there, I would have booed me louder,” said Gray after the game. He has pitched to an 8.25 ERA in eight Yankee Stadium starts this season.

Newsday | David Lennon: Brian Cashman is putting pressure on the Mets to make a deal. The Yankees GM knows that his team could use Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard and that the Flushing squad needs prospects. Cashman has already had numerous conversations with his longtime pal, Omar Minaya. Cashman intends to keep having them until the Mets decide what to do with the aces they’re holding. Get it done, Cash. | Mandy Bell: Gary Sanchez is on track to return around the All-Star break. This is very good news, for many reasons. Obviously, the Yankees miss the Kraken’s bat. Plus, Austin Romine is day-to-day with a hamstring injury. The Yankees are now down to starting third-string catcher Kyle Higashioka, with no healthy backup on the active roster.

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