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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/24/21

Zack Britton criticizes league’s handling of foreign substances; Gerrit Cole calls foreign substance protocols uncomfortable; Another missed opportunity for Clint Frazier to cement his role; Could Jon Lester be a trade target?

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Newsday | Laura Albanese: Zack Britton had strong words about MLB’s rollout of foreign substance protocols. The left-hander believes the whole scenario is just bad optics for the game, arguing “We’re talking about that, we’re not talking about Wander Franco’s debut, we’re not talking about how well Gerrit [Cole] threw and how well Max Scherzer threw, and all this other stuff around the game”. To me, this is one of the stronger points a player has made regarding the sticky stuff crackdown. It seems pretty clear that having the leading story every night being related to rules discussions, rather than amazing athletes doing amazing things, is less than optimal for baseball.

Yahoo Sports | Alex Smith: While many substance checks across the league caused a stir (see: Philadelphia), Gerrit Cole’s first brush with the protocols went smooth enough. That said, it was still a bit awkward, and Cole described the state of things by saying “I don’t think it’s really a super-comfortable situation for anybody”. At the moment, no one seems particularly happy. MLB’s Jon Morosi, Mark Feinsand, and Matt Meyers sat down for a trade deadline roundtable, discussing all the biggest names that could possibly move in the next month. They highlighted some of the usual suspects as potential Yankees targets, namely Starling Marte, Ketel Marte, and Max Scherzer. They also added some less-talked-about names, like Jose Berríos and Jon Lester, to the mix.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: We’re approaching three months into the season, and Clint Frazier’s OPS continues to hover around .600. His grip on the starting left field job has essentially slipped away, with Miguel Andújar having forced his way into more playing time, though Andújar too has slumped over the past week. Every time it seems Frazier may have cemented a clear role with the Yankees, he’s fallen away. Aaron Boone said Frazier hasn’t been deterred by the lessened playing time, stating that “His work hasn’t changed. He’s been ready for opportunities”. | Brendan Kuty: Gio Urshela is day-to-day after getting hit by a pitching in the shin during Tuesday’s night game. Boone wasn’t sure if Urshela could appear in last night’s game, and the third baseman ultimately sat for the entire contest. It does sound as though Urshela should be back fairly quickly, which qualifies as good news.