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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/22/21

Injury updates on Stanton, Frazier, and Britton; Pitcher pine tar use up; Sal Romano signed; Kratz reveals Rockies’ sign-stealing; The Yankees’ forgotten first lawyer

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New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images | Randy Miller: The Yankees issued several injury updates yesterday, most notably that Aaron Hicks will have surgery to repair the torn tendon sheath in his wrist and that he’ll be out for months. In better news though, Giancarlo Stanton’s quad is doing better, and he seems to be on track to return when first eligible on Tuesday. Clint Frazier could play again as soon as today if doctors say that his neck seems OK, and Zach Britton played catch on Friday in anticipation of a bullpen on Sunday that could set up a rehab assignment. Also, this wasn’t in Miller’s piece, but Lindsey Adler of The Athletic tweeted that pitching coach Matt Blake and first-base coach Reggie Willits were back with the team following their COVID quarantines (as were some support staff members).

The Athletic | Ken Rosenthal & Brittany Ghiroli: This article is behind a paywall but is worth discussing and finding more about if you have access. Pine tar use among pitchers has only become more blatant within the past few years. Fastballs with an rpm of over 2,400 have nearly doubled since when they were tracked in 2015. These are not your older cousin’s fastballs, let alone your father’s; the enhanced spin is getting a little ridiculous. As Josh mused in our Slack yesterday, it might be time for MLB to go the NPB route and properly regulate with an already-tacky ball.

Scranton Times-Tribune | Conor Foley via Twitter: Are you a fan of generic, semi-forgettable relievers from the late-2010s? Then you’d love the Yankees’ Triple-A bullpen. Foley tweeted that the Yankees signed former Reds righty Sal Romano and that he reported to the RailRiders. The 27-year-old has pitched for Cincinnati in parts of each of the past five seasons, though he has not actually been even decent in the majors since 2017. But hey, even Triple-A needs its bullpen depth.

Yahoo Sports | Jack Baer: This is only a light connection to the Yankees, but weird enough to note. Old friend Erik Kratz appeared on YES Network’s “Curtain Call” podcast and said that en route to winning a Wild Card spot, the 2018 Rockies — who Kratz’s Brewers defeated in the NLDS — used a nearly identical sign-stealing system as the infamous 2017 Astros. The only difference was that they used a Theragun to bang on the bench rather than using a trash can. (Kratz also heavily hinted that the Dodgers used a scheme of some kind, though he did not outright name them.)

Kentucky Law Journal | Robert M. Jarvis: Finally, we close out the news today with a historical item that never got its due. Jarvis is a law professor and longtime PSA reader who published a great article in the KLJ about the Yankees’ first lawyer, Abram Elkus. The problem is that it went to print right at the start of the pandemic, when everyone’s priorities were justifiably elsewhere, so it was hardly noticed. So we’re giving it a little bump because if you have the time and any interest in matters of law, it’s worth a read. The funny thing is that Elkus was a renowned lawyer in his time, but in his detailed memoirs, he never once mentioned his time helping the then-Highlanders find their footing from 1903 until their sale to Jacob Ruppert and Til Huston in 1915.