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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 1/4/21

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Former Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes announces his retirement; Gleyber Torres among 2021 rebound candidates; Hall of Fame voting update through 115 ballots

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Game 3 Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Phil Hughes via Twitter Former Yankee Phil Hughes announced his retirement from baseball via Twitter. The Bombers picked him in the first round of the 2004 MLB Draft, and he was the team’s best pitching prospect of the mid-2000s. During his 12-year career, he played with the Yankees, the Minnesota Twins, and the San Diego Padres, and hangs up his cleats with a 4.52 ERA in 1291 frames. “While it’s been fairly apparent to most over these last couple years, I’d like to officially announce my retirement from baseball. Through many ups and downs over 12 years, I look back and am incredibly proud of what I was able to accomplish,” he wrote. Yankees fans surely have fond memories of the days in which Hughes and fellow righty prospect Joba Chamberlain were ascending through the ranks, and he was fantastic as a setup man in New York’s last championship in 2009.

MLB.com | David Adler The league’s official site reviewed seven disappointing stars of the 2020 season that are poised to a rebound in 2021. Gleyber Torres was one of the names, as he slashed just .243/.356/.368 with three homers and a .724 OPS. What happened to him? “Torres stopped barreling the ball in 2020 — his barrel rate dropped from 10.1 percent to 3.7 percent. He was pitched tougher, with 45 percent of the pitches he saw hitting the edges of the strike zone, up from 39.7 percent in ‘19. And he was maybe a little too selective against hittable pitches,” per the writeup. MLB likes him as a bounceback candidate, though, saying that “he just needs to combine the hard contact and the air contact like he did before, and find the balance between discipline against bad pitches and attacking good pitches.” The projections have him regaining his power stroke this campaign, with 32 dingers.

NJ Advance Media | Randy Miller Through 115 of the estimated 396 votes (via Hall of Fame tracker Ryan Thibodaux on bbhoftracker.com) it appears that pitchers Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, plus outfielder Barry Bonds, have a chance to be immortalized in 2021. The former Yankees ace’s name has appeared in 72.2 percent of the ballots so far, and the minimum for enshrinement is 75 percent. A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher (contributors to the 2009 title) have received no votes, though, while Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield are soaring. The ballot has eight candidates who were with the Yankees at some point of their careers: Bobby Abreu, LaTroy Hawkins, and Andy Pettitte, in addition to Clemens, Burnett, Jones, Sheffield, and Swisher.