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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/10/21

Renegades off to a strong start; Astros needle the Yanks with promos; bullpen is abuzz; Yankees and Red Sox get one fewer off day; growing impatience with Hal Steinbrenner’s inaction

Major League Baseball London Announcement - Regent Street Cinema Photo by Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images via Getty Images

NJ Advanced Media | Randy Miller: On Friday night, the Yankees returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since losing the 2019 American League Championship Series to Houston when Aroldis Chapman gave up a homer to Jose Altuve. It would make sense if the Astros wanted to distance themselves from their 2017 sign-stealing scandal by avoiding the topic, but Houston’s promotional staff has instead gone all out to remind the Yankees about two falls ago. It’s probably not a coincidence that promos scheduled for this weekend include: 2019 AL Championship Trophy night, 2019 AL Championship Ring night and Jose Altuve Replica Jersey Day. Houston has certainly embraced the drama.

The Highlands Current | Skip Pearlman: After transitioning out of the Tampa Bay Rays organization and becoming the Yankees’ High-A affiliate, the Hudson Valley Renegades have been embraced by the local community in Dutchess County and are also leading their division. In addition to playing good baseball, the club has been able to draw crowds to the games, thanks in part to New York State lifting most COVID-19 restrictions and the team’s proximity to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

New York Daily News | Matthew Robeson: Entering the game in the first inning can throw bullpens for a loop. Yankees relievers are creatures of habit, and some aspects of their nightly routines had to change in Seattle on Wednesday night after Aaron Boone called on Luis Cessa to relieve Nick Nelson not long after the game had started. Cessa described how his early entrance disrupted the bullpen’s habit of chugging a Red Bull energy drink in the second inning. After hearing Cessa’s comment, Chad Green clarified that he prefers coffee to Red Bull. The main takeaway here? The Yankees bullpen consumes lots of caffeine.

Boston Herald | Steve Hewitt: Red Sox utility man Kiké Hernandez expressed his frustration that two days after the All-Star Game, the Red Sox are scheduled to play the Yankees on Thursday night in New York. The Yankees vs. Red Sox matchup is the only game on the MLB schedule that night, as other MLB teams don’t play until Friday. Hernandez doesn’t think it is right that the Yankees and Red Sox have a shorter All-Star break than the 28 other teams in MLB.

Yahoo Sports | Chris Cwick: Former Yankees first baseman Joe Pepitone is suing the National Baseball Hall of Fame over the bat Mickey Mantle used to hit his 500th career home run, which is currently in the Hall of Fame’s possession in Cooperstown. The bat Mantle used to hit the home run belonged to Pepitone (Mantle had borrowed it). According to the lawsuit, Pepitone loaned the bat to the Hall of Fame with the stipulation that Pepitone could have the bat back if he wanted. Pepitone reportedly asked the Hall of Fame to return his bat last September, but the Hall of Fame has yet to send it back to Pepitone.

The Wall Street Journal | Jared Diamond [paywall]: The Yankees are underachieving and even when they do win, fans generally agree that the team looks uninspired and joyless. As an organization, the Yanks seem to be bogged down by inertia. Despite these widely-covered issues, team owner Hal Steinbrenner—unlike his impulsive father—seems unmotivated to try something new. Hal essentially confirms his inclination to do nothing by admitting he is “a little less spur-of-the-moment than [George] was.” It remains to be seen whether the Yankees will be able to find a middle ground between inaction and acting hastily on impulse.