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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/4/19

Mike Ford optioned to Triple-A; Yankees waiting for draft before pursuing Keuchel; Hicks makes progress in return from injury; Paxton found success with fastball; How Estrada bounced back from near-death experience

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

SNY: Remember Dallas Keuchel? Yeah, he’s still a free agent. Due to his contract demands and the potential loss of a draft pick that comes with signing him, the Yankees have not had interest in the left-hander. However, things may change if Keuchel doesn’t sign before the MLB Draft. Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are interested in Keuchel if they don’t have to give up a draft pick as compensation. If Keuchel holds out until after the draft on June 5, the Yankees may be willing to meet his asking price.

New York Post | George King: Here’s the latest injury update: Aaron Hicks is making progress! He played the outfield yesterday for the first time in two months and went 3-3 in an extended spring training game. He also threw out a runner at home. The results in rehab games aren’t terribly important, but if Hicks can contribute like this, he can provide a big boost to the Yankees real soon.

YES Network | Steven Tydings: Prior to leaving Friday night’s game with an injury, James Paxton had pitched well in his last few starts. The key? He did it thanks to newfound confidence in his trademark fastball. He threw it more than two-thirds of the time, and it has resulted in strong strikeout numbers. Hopefully his knee turns out okay.

New York Post | Kevin Kernan: Sometimes, we all need to hear a feel-good story. Yankees infielder Thairo Estrada is just that. Estrada, a top-30 Yankees prospect, was shot in the thigh during an attempted robbery last year. After missing most of the season, he is thriving in the big leagues in 2019. Estrada opened up about how the incident has changed his outlook on life.

And finally, a roster move:

Optioning Mike Ford clears a roster spot for Miguel Andujar, who is scheduled to return tomorrow afternoon.