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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/31/22

Aaron Judge reflects on so-so series, better first two months; Yankees No. 2 in MLB rankings; Tommy John’s health scare; Texas swaps former Baby Bombers

MLB: MAY 29 Yankees at Rays Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: If Aaron Judge had his druthers, then the Yankees would’ve been scheduled to play yesterday on Memorial Day, allowing them to shake off the bad vibes from their last two games against the Rays. Like many fans, Judge was frustrated that New York had to settle for a split after winning the first two at Tropicana Field, but he still feels good about the Yankees sitting in first place after the first couple months of the season.

CBS Sports | Matt Snyder: As a case in point to Judge’s confidence in his team, the Yankees ranked second only to the surging Dodgers in CBS’s latest MLB power rankings. Yes, they’ve gone down a slot, but this is why it was important for the Yankees to build a cushion when they were facing middling/slumping teams for most of the past six weeks. They didn’t take advantage in 2021, and so far in 2022, they’ve done a much better job. Now, the pressure will be on the Yankees to keep the wins coming even as they endure injuries and their offense endures a 2021-esque slump.

New York Post | Steve Serby: The past few years have seen quite a few baseball legends leave us, and we very easily could’ve lost another. Former Yankees lefty Tommy John had a dreadful case of COVID in late 2020 and his health was worsened when after multiple trips to the hospital, it was discovered that he had two massive blood clots in his lung. As a cherry on top, John was also afflicted by Guillain-Barré syndrome, which put him in a wheelchair for several months and has him using a cane at the moment. Thankfully, the pitching pioneer is doing better now and is planning to attend a private ceremony at the Smithsonian on June 3rd, when he’ll present his original post-procedure cast (signed by Dr. Frank Jobe, Vin Scully, and Dodgers teammates) to the museum.

MLB Trade Rumors | Mark Polishuk: In less-serious former Yankee news, the Rangers did a roster move swap of a couple familiar names. In what’s looking like a savvy move, the Yankees sent out-of-options reliever Albert Abreu and a low-level pitching prospect to Texas just before Opening Day in exchange for Jose Trevino. The catcher has been a welcome addition to the team, with his excellent glove helping provide 0.7 fWAR in just 30 games despite a modest-at-best bat. Meanwhile, Abreu battled control issues and an ankle sprain, and since Texas wanted to add to their roster, they designated him for assignment.

In what’s looking like a not-so-savvy move though, another minor leaguer who the Yankees sent to Texas in the Joey Gallo deal is now in the majors. Infielder Josh H. Smith made his MLB debut on Monday, and he went 3-for-4 in the Rangers’ 9-5 win over the Rays. The winning pitcher was the first post-Gallo trade Baby Bomber alum to debut in Texas, Glenn Otto (who while not spectacular has been an adequate Rangers starter in 2022). Personally, I’m not fully convinced yet that any of the prospects who the Yankees dealt for Gallo will end up becoming true “make-you-regret-it” All-Stars or anything like that, but there’s no denying that it’s just an extra sting on top of getting very little out of Gallo during his first 10 months in pinstripes.