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

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Chris Gittens returns to Triple-A; An update on Zack Britton; Yankees make triple play history; Twins sign former Scranton reliever Kyle Barraclough

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

RotoWire: In a move that almost certainly sets up the return of Luke Voit, the Yankees demoted first baseman Chris Gittens back to Triple-A after Sunday afternoon’s victory. Called up on June 5th with Voit on the shelf and Mike Ford ineffective, Gittens didn’t end up making much of an impression, as he hit just .095/.200/.238 with one homer in 10 games. Even if he’d been lighting up the league, it probably wouldn’t make much depth sense to keep Gittens around after Voit’s return though, as the Yankees already had a backup first baseman in DJ LeMahieu. Voit is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday.

New York Post | Greg Joyce: Setup man Zack Britton’s absence was a bit of a mystery late in the Yankees game on Sunday. The bullpen was clinging to a precarious one-run lead and trying to map the path to Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning, and yet Britton didn’t pitch. (It wasn’t a rest issue, as he last appeared on Thursday). Instead, it was because Britton was dealing with some general soreness. Although manager Aaron Boone said that he could’ve pitched in an emergency, he didn’t feel like he needed to push it with Lucas Luetge available. Britton is only now appearing in his first action of 2021 after missing the first couple months recovering from elbow surgery to remove bone chips.

ESPN: The buzz after Sunday’s win was all about the ending. Remarkably, the Yankees notched their third triple play of 2021 to secure the final three outs on a sharp grounder by Oakland’s Sean Murphy. In doing so, the Yankees became just the 12th club in MLB history to record three triple-killings in a single season (the first since the 2016 White Sox), and the first to end a game on a triple play since the Phillies’ Eric Bruntlett did it unassisted on August 23, 2009. The 31-day stretch consisting of all three triple plays is also a record for the shortest span between three.

As Jeff Quagliata of the YES Network noted, this is all especially weird since the Yankees went 42 seasons between triple plays from 1968-2010. Now, they have an MLB-best six since 2010 and three in 2021 alone — a franchise record, of course, since they’d never turned multiple triple plays in a single season, let alone three. Baseball’s an odd game.

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: A recently-cut member of the Yankees’ Triple-A club has found a new home, as Kyle Barraclough has joined the Twins. Signed prior to the season to compete for a bullpen spot in spring training, the former Marlins reliever was decent for Scranton with a 3.21 ERA, 4.17 FIP, and a flashy 15.4 K/9 in 11 outings, but his terrible control (7.0 BB/9) all but ensured that he wouldn’t get a look at the big-league level. Barraclough was released on Friday, and the Twins signed him on Sunday, assigning him to their Triple-A Club in St. Paul.

Lastly, a non-Yankees note, but one that we need to acknowledge since this man will likely be a nuisance to fans for years to come. Ahead of their upcoming series against the now-AL East leading Red Sox, the Rays are calling up 20-year-old Wander Franco, who is probably the best prospect in baseball.

Let’s just hope he has some extended rookie slumps in him before he takes off.