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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/23/21

Clarke Schmidt out with an elbow injury; Luis Severino keeps progressing, and weighs in on Kevin Mather; Montgomery draws praise from Boone; Cole will start on Opening Day

Miami Marlins v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

ESPN | Marly Rivera: The Yankees’ pitching depth received its first blow of the season, after manager Aaron Boone revealed on Monday that Clarke Schmidt will be sidelined for the next three to four weeks as he recovers from an elbow issue. The injury is on the “common extensor” tendon, in the interior side of the right elbow. The pitcher had an MRI last weekend. Schmidt, who made his major league debut last season, is now probably looking at a May return if there are no setbacks. | Brendan Kuty: Luis Severino, who is recovering from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last spring, said he is slowly, but surely “getting back to myself” and maintains that July is a realistic target. Severino hopes to be back before then, but doesn’t feel like he has an exact date yet. Instead, he will take it day by day and continue to ramp up the work he’s doing. The power righty threw from 90 feet on Monday and will increase the distance to 120 feet on Tuesday.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Seattle Mariners’ president and CEO Kevin Mather made the news on Sunday after some unfortunate comments about former pitcher and current special assignment coach Hisashi Iwakuma and uber-prospect Julio Rodriguez’s English skills. Severino defended the players, saying that it’s not easy to learn another language, and added that ”if you go to (Dominican Republic), you’re not going to speak Spanish right away. That’s tough.” Amid remarks about service time manipulation, complaints about paying for Iwakuma’s translator, and other truly concerning situations, Mather resigned on Monday.

SNY | Ryan Morik: Manager Aaron Boone said he is “excited” to see Jordan Montgomery in 2021 and acknowledged that he was better than his 5.11 ERA suggests. Boone pointed to an improved fastball that Montgomery threw last year with an uptick in velocity, and stressed that the team wants him to hone in his command and his delivery. Monty finished last season with a 3.87 FIP and a solid 24.4 K%.

Twitter | Bryan Hoch: Boone also confirmed what we already assumed — Gerrit Cole will take the ball on Opening Day. When asked about it on Monday, the skipper replied with a short, but concise “safe to say.” Cole, who signed a record nine-year, $324 million deal before the 2020 season, finished his first year in pinstripes with a 2.84 ERA and a 3.89 FIP in 73 innings.