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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/4/21

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All-Star Game ballot released; Corey Kluber’s rehab plan; Yankees can only make excuses for so long; Adam Ottavino aids former Brooklyn youth sports program

89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by MasterCard - Red Carpet Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

MLB.com | Mark Feinsand: The 2021 MLB All-Star Game ballot is officially out and fans can now vote on who they’d like to see in the Midsummer Classic. The voting is a little different this year, as this first wave of voting will end on June 24th, and from there, a second vote will begin on June 27th with fans picking from the three top vote-getters at each position until July 1st. PSA’s John Griffin wrote a few days ago about the most likely Yankees All-Stars; outside of pitchers, Aaron Judge is probably the only deserving position player, so let’s get him to Denver!

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: After getting a second and third opinion on his shoulder, Corey Kluber and the Yankees feel a little more optimistic about his injury. He will no longer be completely shut down for four weeks, as manager Aaron Boone said that he’ll start a flat ground program “in the next few days.” Kluber’s shoulder strain is still expected to keep him from the Yankees’ rotation for at least eight weeks, though I guess it’s better that the sides have a better handle on it. File this one under “news that is still not great but I suppose encouraging from a certain point of view.”

New York Post | Joel Sherman: For two months, the Yankees have insisted that their best play is in front of them, but the results aren’t showing on the field. Although Boone and the organization are putting on a brave face, the same problems that have plagued them all season have continued to crop in recent series. While the pitching has been good — yesterday notwithstanding — their offense remains wildly inconsistent and closer to the Pirates’ level than Boston’s, they’re still running into far too many outs on the bases, and they continue to make questionable decisions in the field. Tick tock.

Associated Press | Jimmy Golen: This a news story about a former Yankee, but one who is coming back to town this weekend and also has close ties to the area: Adam Ottavino. The New York native grew up in Brooklyn’s 78 Youth Sports program, and like many organizations, it got slammed during the pandemic, burning up most of its reserves. To do his part to help save the program, Ottavino stepped in. He allowed them to raise $20,000 through donations of equipment and pitching lessons, and he was only too happy to lend a hand. Good on ya, Otto.