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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/29/22

Is there a starting role on the horizon for Michael King?; Yankees send Ron Marinaccio to Triple-A; Aaron Hicks expected back today; Nestor Cortes discusses recent success

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

NJ Advance Media | Bob Klapisch: Michael King has become perhaps the most important arm in the 2022 Yankees’ bullpen, with a 0.69 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 13 frames. He can get anywhere from one to three innings in any given game, so he has earned a reputation as a “Swiss Army knife” for the Yanks. He seems perfect for the multi-inning relief role, but what about a starting role at some point in the future?

“It’s a great luxury to have (King’s) ability to fill a lot of roles,” manager Aaron Boone said. He does have four pitches, but there doesn’t seem to be an opening for him at the rotation for the time being, and he is needed in the bullpen.

Still, Boone hasn’t ruled out the possibility of using King as a starter down the road at some point. He did make six starts with the big league club last year and came up through the minors in that role. “With his ability to get left-handed hitters out, he has the mix to be (a starter),” said Boone. “But obviously with our situation right now he’s been pretty valuable where he is.”

Rotowire: After the Yankees’ 10-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, they optioned right-handed reliever Ron Marinaccio to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His stint with the big-league team was short, but he will probably be up again at some point this season given the nature of the Scranton Shuffle.

Marinaccio, who struggled badly on Thursday, posted an 11.25 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP in four innings of work. The move will probably make room for a fresh reliever — potentially Opening Day roster member J.P. Sears — for the upcoming road trip before the 28-man rosters revert to 26 on May 2nd.

NY Post | Dan Martin: Outfielder Aaron Hicks, who spent the last few days on paternity leave, is expected to return to the Yankees’ active roster today. He will rejoin the team in Kansas City ahead of the first game of the weekend series.

The Yanks used Aaron Judge in center field twice and Tim Locastro once, in Thursday’s 10-5 win over the Orioles. Miguel Andújar had been recalled to take Hicks’ roster spot, but he did not play and is likely ticketed back to Triple-A once Hicks is added because the Yankees are unlikely to stick with a five-man bench. Hicks is hitting .273/.377/.341 with a .718 OPS on the 2022 campaign.

Fox Sports | Jake Mintz: By now, it’s safe to say Nestor Cortes is one of the best pitchers on the Yankees’ roster. Fox Sports published an in-depth article about his recent success, pointing out that “over the past year, Cortes has used deception, pitch sequencing and pin-point command to sit down a ton of batters.”

Cortes talks about how his experience in the Dominican Winter League helped shape his character and develop and craft his cutter, one of the pitches that helped unlock a new level for him. It’s a good read.