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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/13/21

Yankees COVID-19 total reaches seven; Gerrit Cole hits personal milestone; Jasson Dominguez stars in highlight reel; A cursed look back at the infamous “Midges Game”

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: The Yankees’ strange COVID outbreak continued on Wednesday, as pitching coach Matt Blake and three other support staff members joined Phil Nevin, Reggie Willits, and another part of the support staff among the seven who have tested positive for COVID-19 despite the J&J vaccine. All but one are asymptomatic, so that means that the vaccine is doing its job. As a precautionary measure, the Yankees also held Gleyber Torres — who had COVID-19 in December — out of the lineup in place of Tyler Wade. To monitor the issue, the Yankees have been tested three times since Tuesday and will continue to test frequently. | Bryan Hoch: In lighter news, Gerrit Cole hit a personal milestone during the Yankees’ narrow 1-0 victory over the Rays. While firing eight shutout innings, Cole passed the 1,500-strikeout plateau, becoming the 221st pitcher to reach that mark. In the process, he passed teammate Corey Kluber and Yankees Hall of Famer Goose Gossage. More impressively, Cole was the second-fastest pitcher to reach 1,500 strikeouts in MLB history, trailing only Hall of Famer Randy Johnson in terms of games — 212. Ideally, he has many, many more left in his arm before it’s all over.

New York Post | Dan Martin: The Yankees continued to build up the Jasson Dominguez hype train yesterday, posting a video of his workout at extended spring training. The Post followed up with a report on the 18-year-old phenom with some great quotes within from Yankees senior director of player development Kevin Reese. Dominguez would have batted against rehabbing starter Luis Severino in the rehab, but the latter was scratched with a stiff back; he’ll pitch today instead. The Rookie-level GCL remains the “likely starting point” for Dominguez on June 28th.

The Ringer | Jake Kring-Schreifels: On Tuesday, the Ringer “celebrated” the return of Brood X cicadas with “Bug Day,” and as part of it, Kring-Schreifels posted a story looking back at that cursed Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS between the Yankees and Cleveland. You might know it better as the “Midges Game.” Roger Clemens, Doug Mientkiewicz, announcer Chip Caray, an entomologist, and several Cleveland players contributed quotes to the story, which is actually very well-done if you can stomach re-living the subject matter. (No judgments on any who’d like to pass — this was one of my worst memories from watching the Yankees as a teenager.)