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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/4/21

The Yankees will face the Astros for the first time since the reveal of the sign-stealing scandal; Gerrit Cole and Corey Kluber got all the awards; Clarke Schmidt’s arrow is pointing up; Reggie Jackson on working for Houston.

MLB: ALCS-New York Yankees at Houston Astros Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports | Randy Miller The Yankees and the Houston Astros will play against each other for the first time since the sign-stealing scandal was exposed. Right-hander Domingo Germán will take the ball for New York, having allowed just two earned runs in his last two starts, while veteran Zack Greinke will take the hill for the visitors. Both teams held intense duels in American League Championship Series in 2017 and 2019, both Houston victories, and much has happened since then. This is sure to be a must-watch battle. Yankees’ starters Gerrit Cole and Corey Kluber got all the accolades on Monday. The former was named the American League’s Pitcher of the Month after a dominant April in which he had a 4-1 record, a 1.43 ERA, and 62 strikeouts against three walks (!), while the latter was the AL’s Player of the Week after two strong starts in which he had a 0.61 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 14.2 frames.

SNY | Scott Thompson: The Yankees, through senior director of player development Kevin Reese, provided an injury update on right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt. Diagnosed with a right flexor strain during spring training, Schmidt is reportedly doing well in Tampa after receiving a cortisone shot in mid-April, with Reese using the word “fantastic” when talking about how he is looking. He said the pitcher, who made his MLB debut last season with 6.1 innings of a 7.11 ERA (4.30 FIP), is expected to contribute to the big league team at some point this season.

New York Post | Mark Fischer Former Yankee great Reggie Jackson, who worked for the Bombers as recently as six months ago, is now with the Houston Astros. “I’m involved and have been involved with Jim [Crane, the Houston owner] and the ’Stros,” he recently told the Houston Chronicle. “I’m happy to be here. It’s working well. I’m fitting in. All to make the ballclub better and at the same time we’re working on a lot baseball fields and charity things that we can do together for the community.” Jackson’s role and duties with the Astros are not known.