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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 10/19/21

John Sterling plans on limited return to radio; Notable Yankees prospects of 2021; Justin Verlander rumors; Unsung hero Lucas Luetge

2020 BBWAA Awards Dinner Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

New York Post | Andrew Marchand: There wasn’t much doubt about this, but longtime Yankees radio voice John Sterling will return for his 34th year behind the mic. However, for the first time, the 83-year-old appears prepared to take on a mildly reduced workload, albeit only working a little less than the full 162-game slate. Sterling had a remarkable Lou Gehrig-like streak of calling 5,060 consecutive Yankees games before missing some time in 2019. For as admirable as Sterling’s work ethic is, it’s good that at his age, he finally seems ready to dial it back a bit. | Bryan Hoch: Although the big league Yankees were disappointing in 2021, the Baby Bombers had a hell of a year. Their teams combined for the second-best record among any organization behind only the Rays, and Anthony Volpe was one of a few top minor leaguers to really force themselves into the MLB-wide prospect mix. Other names of note include Oswald Peraza, Jasson Dominguez, and Ken Waldichuk.

New York Post | Ken Davidoff: Is it crazy to imagine Justin Verlander on the 2022 Yankees? Honestly, given the Corey Kluber Experiment, probably not. The future Hall of Famer could be a free agent this year if the Astros decline to make him a qualifying offer after missing the last season and a half with Tommy John surgery in his late thirties. Owner Jim Crane suggested that a QO is probably still incoming for Verlander, rendering the discussion moot, but hey, weirder things have happened than an old ace as talented as Verlander coming to New York. | Max Goodman: The thesis of this article is that Lucas Luetge wasn’t talked about enough in 2021, and really, it’s hard to disagree. Remember, he entered 2021 as a non-roster invitee to spring training who hadn’t pitched a single inning in the majors since April 25th, 2015. (He also didn’t pitch at all in the COVID-shortened 2020.) Despite that long gap, Luetge made the Opening Day roster and ended up appearing in 57 games, a figure topped by only Aroldis Chapman and Chad Green. It was no fluke either, as he was quite reliable with a 2.74 ERA and 2.84 FIP, even without an overpowering repertoire. Luetge forever.