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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/17/21

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Outstanding questions about ball doctoring; García struggles in Scranton; Gittens’ first dinger; minor injury updates; Art Ditmar passes away

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Ringer | Ben Lindbergh: Sticky stuff is the talk of baseball, with MLB vowing to crack down on ball doctoring starting on Monday. Simple enforcement isn’t enough though, as usual MLB has left a whole lot of questions unanswered around the use of foreign substances — not the least of which is why the league chose June 2021 to start coming down on this rule, despite it being a well-known practice for approximately 150 years of organized baseball. (Gerrit Cole aired his own frustrations after last night’s start about MLB’s failure to communicate with its pitchers about the policy.)

New York Post | Evan Orris: The Regression Monster has come for the Yankees’ rotation, with the club’s ERA ballooning in June to 5.27 after posting a staff-wide 3.22 mark in the first two months of the season. There may not be help on the farm either, as top prospect Deivi García has had a terrible time with Triple-A Scranton, walking a fifth of all batters he’s faced and rocking an 8.10 ERA.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Chris Gittens has had a rough go of it in the majors, as he entered Tuesday night 0-for-13 since being called up last weekend. He finally got a major monkey off his back, clubbing a long home run Tuesday night for his first major-league hit. As a bonus, Gittens did end up getting the ball back after a long negotiation with a fan outside the park.

Berkshire Eagle | Howard Herman: A former Yankee has left us, as Art Ditmar passed away at age 92. The right-hander pitched in the majors for nine years, including four with the Bombers from 1957-61. He threw 723.1 innings of 3.24 ERA ball, splitting time between the rotation and bullpen as the Yankees continued their dynastic ways with multiple World Series appearances (Ditmar won one in ‘58, though had been traded by the time the ‘61 team secured its crown). Ditmar was at his best in two Fall Classics against Milwaukee, when he pitched a combined 9.2 scoreless innings across three games from 1957-58.

Lastly, the Yankees had some minor injury updates on pitchers Corey Kluber, Darren O’Day, and Justin Wilson, which were nicely summarized in the tweet below by Yankee Stadium scoreboard host Justin Shackil. O’Day in particular appears to be close to returning, as he could begin a rehab assignment shortly. The veteran right-hander has been out since April 30th with a rotator cuff strain.