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

Voit, Andújar on the mend while O’Day’s season ends; Loaisiga, Cortes could return this weekend; LeMahieu, Gittens miss Tuesday’s game; Yanks turn to unknown Wojciechowski for Wednesday start

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
An elusive Asher Wojciechowski sighting
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images | Pete Caldera: Manager Aaron Boone gave a helpful rundown of updates on the Yankees’ ailments before last night’s victory over the Phillies. Luke Voit and Miguel Andújar have been feeling better. The former had a PRP injection on Friday and should resume baseball activity later this week; the latter had a cortisone shot and has resumed taking batting practice.

DJ LeMahieu was scratched from the starting lineup on Tuesday after suffering a stomach virus, though he thankfully tested negative for COVID. On a related note, Boone’s optimistic that he’ll have pitchers Jonathan Loaisiga and Nestor Cortes Jr. back this weekend against the Red Sox, but the remaining quartet (highlighted by Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela) will need more time.

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: This note was also mentioned in Caldera’s piece but deserves its own separate link for how bizarre it is. The Yankees’ starting pitcher today will surely make some fans at Yankee Stadium quite confused because it is 32-year-old journeyman Asher Wojciechowski. Because Deivi García has been pretty rough in Triple-A this year, the Yankees were in a bind since they wanted to line up Jordan Montgomery for the more-important upcoming series against the Red Sox and Rays, and both Michael King and Cortes are on the injured list.

So it’s time for a real dice roll and heat check on this 8-3 run. If Wojciechowski’s name rings a bell at all, it’s because the Yankees rocked him in three appearances from 2019-20 while on the Orioles. He’s missed most of this season with a lat injury and only just got back to Triple-A Scranton at the end of June. Wojciechowski has a 5.68 ERA and 3.12 FIP in four starts (12.2 innings), though he fanned seven over four innings of one-run ball in his last outing against Boston’s Triple-A club. He will need to be added to the 40-man roster, so look for that roster move later today. | Betelhem Ashame: As expected, reliever Darren O’Day’s season is over. The hamstring injury that caused him to crumple to the ground on July 6th in Seattle was indeed severe enough to require surgery. The 38-year-old will have the procedure done today and as he rehabs over the next six months, he’ll discuss whether he wants to return to baseball next year or not. O’Day has a player option for $1.4 million next year, so the ball is in his court.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Although his production has been only around league-average at best, Rougned Odor has been one visible figures on the 2021 Yankees. As Erica wrote the other day, he’s always participating in mound visits — something he picked up from Elvis Andrus in his Texas days — he’s hit some big homers, and recently, he’s even run from second to the outfield to check up on teammates after injuries. Boone commended Odor as a respected teammate and consummate professional who doesn’t take it personally when he does sit on the bench (in healthier times for the team, anyway).

ESPN: In “Huh, I guess that makes sense”/”My back hurts” news, two legendary Yankees helped forge a connection in Miami. Under the eye of CEO Derek Jeter, the Marlins signed an undrafted free agent with the last name of Pettitte — Andy’s son, Jared. Also a lefty, Jared pitched for Dallas Baptist University after transferring from Houston. Jared’s older brother, Josh, was also a pitcher (once drafted in the 37th round by the Yankees in 2013), but he blew out his elbow and endured multiple Tommy John surgeries while at Rice. Hopefully, Jared will have better luck.

Lastly, this is just a warning sign. Chris Gittens wasn’t available to sub for LeMahieu yesterday due to a sore Achilles. That’s why backup catcher Rob Brantly manned the position; otherwise, the Yankees would’ve had to get creative with Gary Sánchez or Rougned Odor there, even though they barely have any experience (Odor has none at all).

If Gittens needs a stint on the injured list? Well, with all due respect to Armando Alvarez, we’re at the bottom of the barrel. So your guess on a replacement is as good as mine.

Lyle Overbay comeback time, anyone?