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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/1/21

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Luis Severino confident of 2021 return; Aaron Boone praises Shohei Ohtani; Michael Kay hates rest schedules; Hideki Matsui thanks Yankees, Derek Jeter

Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

New York Post | Greg Joyce: The Yankees originally planned for Luis Severino to return some time within the next two weeks, but those plans were scrapped when he exited his June 12 rehab start with a groin strain. Severino was in visible pain and had to be helped off the field. On Wednesday, he described the injury as feeling “like somebody shot [him] in the leg.” He initially worried that it would cost him the rest of the season, considering he struggled to walk shortly after it occurred.

However, he is now encouraged by how well recovery from this latest setback is going. The Yankees’ timetable for his return is in the four-to-six week range, with Severino feeling confident he will pitch for the Yankees this season. They could sure use him, with the rotation behind Gerrit Cole scuffling, and Cole himself experiencing reduced effectiveness post-foreign substance crackdown.

Yahoo! Sports | Ryan Morik: Shohei Ohtani has captivated audiences all season, but especially with his power display in the Bronx. He launched three home runs in the first two games of the series to grab the solo MLB home run lead. He even has a fan in Yankees manager Aaron Boone. Boone is in awe of all the things Ohtani can do on the diamond, from his prodigious power to his wipeout arsenal to his speed on the base paths.

“All the things we’re hearing - the once in a lifetime, the once in a generation type talent,” Boone explained, “I don’t think that’s hyperbole at all.”

NJ.com | Randy Miller: The Yankees threw us a curveball when they announced their starting lineup yesterday afternoon. Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela were notably absent from the batting order in a pivotal game against Shohei Ohtani. Boone explained that both players needed a day off, though neither was actually hurt.

This drew the extreme ire of Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay. He lambasted the decision, labeling it “laughable,” “disgraceful,” and called on MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to intervene. Suffice to say, Kay is not a fan of the Yankees’ prescribed rest schedules and believes the team should be rolling out their A-lineup every game, especially coming off a recent four-game losing streak.

The Players’ Tribune | Hideki Matsui: To wrap things up, we have a heartwarming trip down memory lane. Hideki Matsui penned a poignant thank you letter in The Players’ Tribune, an online platform founded by Derek Jeter to publish first-person stories from athletes. Matsui detailed his journey to the Bronx, and shared his love for living in and playing for New York. He remembers the emotional return to Yankee Stadium after he signed with the Angels in free agency after the 2009 season, and how receiving his World Series ring and being surrounded by his former teammates was the closest he has ever come to crying on a baseball diamond.

Matsui also took time to thank Jeter and recount everything the Yankees captain meant to him. Jeter went out of his way to make Matsui feel welcome and comfortable after arriving from Japan. Matsui always admired the way Jeter treated those around him, his leadership, his humility, but also his sense of humor and how he could put people at ease. Matsui concluded saying he will always cherish his time in pinstripes and the relationship he forged with Jeter.