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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 9/3/18

Wild Card battle about to get real; Aaron Boone serves one-game suspension; Tarpley among MLB’s top five September call-ups to watch; Cashman talks trades, Judge’s misdiagnosis, more in Q & A; Yanks need pre-2018 Sanchez.

CC Sabathia is slated to pitch the first game of the Yankees’ big West Coast trip today against the Athletics.
CC Sabathia is slated to pitch the first game of the Yankees’ big West Coast trip today against the Athletics.
Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

New York Post | Dan Martin: The Yankees just completed a dud of a homestand, which saw them go 3-4 against two of the worst teams in the American League. Now their battle for the Wild Card is about to get real, as they head out to the West Coast for a pair of three-game series against their nearest pursuers, the Athletics and Mariners. New York’s lead over Oakland for the top Wild Card berth stands at just 4.5 games, and the upstart Athletics are going to be gunning for the Yankees, so the Bombers better be ready.

Newsday | Anthony Rieber: Yankees skipper Aaron Boone served a one-game suspension Sunday for making contact with home plate umpire Nic Lentz during Friday’s tirade, for which he was ejected. Boone’s cap made contact with Lentz’s during the fifth-inning argument over balls and strikes. Boone was informed of the suspension by MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre. Bench coach Josh Bard managed the team during Sunday’s loss to the Tigers.

CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: Axisa named his top five September call-ups from around baseball to watch, and Yankees prospect Stephen Tarpley was one of them. The 25-year old southpaw got roughed up during his major-league debut on Sunday, getting tagged for three runs on three hits and two walks as he pitched the ninth inning of the 11-7 loss. Tarpley threw 69.2 minor-league innings with a 1.94 ERA and 71 strikeouts, and his 68.1 percent ground-ball rate is the highest among the 1,011 pitchers with at least 65 innings in the minors this season. He also also been particularly nasty against left-handedbatters, boasting a .148/.219/.193 slash line against. | Randy Miller: Yankees GM Brian Cashman conducted a 21-minute interview before Saturday’s game. He covered a wide range of topics, including Aaron Judge’s misdiagnosis, Greg Bird’s struggles, and trades. Didi Gregorius is not expected to be activated for the Oakland series, which played a part in Cashman’s decision to acquire defensive wizard Adeiny Hechavarria. He also discussed his reasons for calling up Tarpley, but not Justus Sheffield.

We’re really high on the player. His time will be coming. — Brian Cashman on Justus Sheffield

New York Post | Larry Brooks: The Yankees need the pre-2018 Gary Sanchez — right now. The first player called up as part of the team’s rebuild two years ago is back in action after missing nearly two months due to a nagging groin injury. With Judge and Gregorius still out, the Bombers need their catcher to return to All-Star form.