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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/9/19

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Hicks on pace to return this weekend; the disappearance of Tanaka’s splitter; German’s possible innings limit; Yankees 23 spots ahead of Red Sox on Forbes list

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

New York Post | Greg Joyce: Domingo German has surprised many to become one of the best pitchers in baseball during this young season. Carrying a 6-1 record with a 2.35 ERA, 0.887 WHIP, and 39 strikeouts over 38.1 innings, German has been a bright spot in New York’s injury-riddled April and May. But an interesting issue is looming on the horizon: an innings limit.

The young righty is on pace to throw around 188 innings and though Aaron Boone hasn’t put a number on it, reports estimate that he could be capped at 150. What German does have on his side, however, is experience. Though he’s only 26, he’s logged roughly 600 innings. That considerable workload may push Boone and Larry Rothschild to let him gut out a few more near the end of the season if he can maintain this rate of success.

Newsday | Anthony Rieber: According to Aaron Boone, Aaron Hicks is expected to be back with the Yankees in one of their next two series. After playing two rehab games in Tampa without any issue, New York’s so-far-absent center fielder could finally make his 2019 debut with the team this weekend when the Yankees visit Tampa Bay or when the they return to the Bronx to host Baltimore. The rag tag Bombers have been fun to watch, but I can confidently say that everyone is ready to see Aaron Hicks in the lineup.

NJ.com | Chris Ryan: Masahiro Tanaka’s splitter—one of his strongest pitches—has been a no show in 2019. Though he’s still managed to pitch to a 3.77 ERA on the season, he can’t even seem to remember the last time that he felt very confident in one of his signature weapons. As he puts it:

It’s a priority for me to get that split back. [It’s] not necessarily the location of the pitch. It’s the feel of the pitch, the movement and everything. I feel that’s not there and that needs to be adjusted.

Hey, Rothschild, could you, uh, get on that?

Forbes | Chris Smith: Despite injuries and the chill in the spring air, the Yankees have managed to rank third in average home game attendance in 2019. Money-makers like that are just one of many factors that have helped the Bronx Bombers jump to number eight on the Forbes SportsMoney Index, a ranking of the overall influence of the sports world’s top teams, athletes, brands and agencies. Sitting at a hefty $4.6 billion, the Yankees are the most valuable MLB team and the fourth highest sports team behind Barcelona, the Golden State Warriors, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Here’s the good news: Not only are the Red Sox 23 spots behind the Yankees at number 31, but Giancarlo Stanton (25) sits 65 spots ahead of David Price (90). Take that, chowda heads.