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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/14/21

Gleyber Torres asymptomatic but COVID-19 positive; Luis Severino throws live BP; Aaron Hicks nursing sore wrist; building robo-umps; ESPN, MLB close to deal for nonexistent first round of playoffs

MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports | Bryan Hoch: Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres, held out of Wednesday’s lineup, tested positive for COVID-19 and is the eighth member of the team (between coaches, players and staffers) to do so. He is asymptomatic. The Bombers placed him on the COVID-19 list and recalled Miguel Andújar in a corresponding move. Torres was fully vaccinated and had already contracted the virus in December. There’s a chance that he might not be able to be recalled for 10 days, though that’s unclear at the moment.

ESPN | Marly Rivera via Twitter: After waking up with a stiff back on Wednesday, Luis Severino delayed his live batting practice session, but he completed it on Thursday. He faced three different batters, per reports, and one of them was teenage phenom Jasson Dominguez. Severino is currently working his way back from Tommy John surgery last spring and could be an option to join the Yankees rotation in a few weeks. “I have not seen [the film] yet, I look forward to watching it maybe later tonight or certainly tomorrow ... but I heard he was 96 mph and that it went really well,” manager Aaron Boone said prior to yesterday’s game. | Bryan Hoch: Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks wasn’t in Thursday’s lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays, nursing wrist soreness. The team sent him for an MRI yesterday. Boone and the team are hoping that it’s not a big deal, but they were “still evaluating” his MRI after the game, so we’ll have to wait and see. The Yankees made no promises about his availability for today.

NY Post | Andrew Marchand and Joel Sherman: MLB and ESPN are reportedly about to close a deal that would give the latter rights to the first round of the postseason. There is one issue, though: that round, as of now, still does not exist, since the league and the players’ association haven’t agreed on it — that will be a bone of contention in the upcoming CBA. To include best-of-three sets in each league, there would need to be expanded playoffs, and that isn’t the case yet. The deal would also reduce the number of weekday ESPN broadcasts, but “Sunday Night Baseball” will remain a staple.

MLB Technology Blog | Perry Pierce, Matthew Whitrock, and Stuart Cheshire: Remember how MLB experimented with robo-umps in the independent Atlantic League in 2019? Straight from the source itself, this fascinating article discusses how MLB designed and tested the automated ball and strike calling system (ABS) with feedback from players, umpires, and other personnel. A lot of work early in 2019 simply went into testing feasibility and building the system before ABS was implemented in the second half, and in the Arizona Fall League. After some more tinkering, ABS is now being used in the Low-A Southeast League, which is where the Yankees-affiliated Tampa Tarpons play.*

*Early results are mixed, but it’s a work in progress.