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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/31/21

A potential call-up for first-base prospect Chris Gittens; LHP Mike Montgomery to opt out of his contract; Rays are ready to renew rivalry with Yanks; MLB celebrates inaugural Lou Gehrig Day on June 2nd.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports | Brendan Kuty: First base has been something of a black hole for the Yankees so far this season. Between Luke Voit’s injuries and Mike Ford’s struggles at the plate, the team continues to get little to no production from a premium offensive position. According to manager Aaron Boone, the Yankees are considering calling up first base prospect Chris Gittens, who is currently mashing in Triple-A. Gittens has showed impressive power with the RailRiders, and in 41 at-bats he has hit four home runs with 10 RBI and a .268 batting average. He might have been called up earlier, but Gittens had a baby earlier in the week (lots of new dads with the club!) and took paternity leave for several days.

FanSided | Robert Murray via Twitter: Left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery plans to opt out of his minor league contract with the Yankees on June 1st. The 31-year-old signed with the Yankees in April after being released by the Mets and is purportedly seeking a new major league opportunity. Montgomery’s performances in Triple-A Scranton haven’t been great. In four starts with the Railriders, he has a 7.56 ERA with middling strikeout and walk rates over 16.2. Per a report from early Monday morning, it appears that Montgomery will join the KBO’s Samsung Lions.

ESPN | Associated Press: The Tampa Bay Rays are psyched up to face the Yankees when the two AL East rivals begin a four-game series in the Bronx on Memorial Day. Rays reliever Ryan Thompson said he and his teammates get extra excited to play the Yankees, as they feed off the energy from the tension and hard feelings that exist between the two teams. The Yanks return to New York after being swept by the Tigers; here’s to hoping the squad will show more life and spark than they did this past weekend in Detroit.

New Jersey 101.5 | Big Joe Henry: The Yankees and MLB are teaming up to honor Lou Gehrig and raise money for the Sean Healey Center and AMG center for ALS, a first-rate research facility focused on finding better ways to treat Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. MLB will observe the league’s inaugural Lou Gehrig Day this Wednesday and MLB will continue to honor Gehrig’s legacy each year on June 2nd. The date is both the anniversary of Gehrig’s death in 1941 and the day that Gehrig began his record-breaking consecutive games streak. On this coming Lou Gehrig Day, each home club will host ceremonies and display “4-ALS” logos in ballparks, and players and coaches will also wear a “Lou Gehrig Day” patch on their uniforms. The day will certainly carry extra significance for the Yankees, the team of which Gehrig was the heart, soul and Captain.