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

Aaron Judge meets big fan in Toronto; Gary Sheffield has some advice for Judge; organization is deep at shortstop; Nestor Cortes knows the key to his success; the Yankees pitching staff remains excellent

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New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Associated Press | USA Today: On Tuesday night, the story of a Jays fan catching Aaron Judge’s home run ball and giving it to a young Judge fan a row or two behind him in the stands took the baseball world by storm, with countless accounts sharing and re-sharing the video online. Well, on Wednesday night, that young fan, along with the Jays fan who gave him the ball, got a chance to meet his idol, as 9-year-old Derek Rodriguez was invited to the Yankees dugout before the game to meet his favourite player.

Mike Rosenstein | NJ.com: A month ago, Judge and the New York Yankees failed to agree to a contract extension this offseason, meaning that the face of the franchise will test the free agent markets at the end of the season. Former Yankee Gary Sheffield had some advice for Aaron Judge, suggesting that the grass is not always greener on the other side when it comes to leaving a team in free agency — an interesting thought from a player who never played more than 560 games on any one team during his Hall of Fame-caliber career.

Sweeny Murti & Conor Foley | SNY: In “Pinstripe Prospective,” a new digital feature from SNY News Desk, Murti and Foley discuss the state of the Yankees farm system. In the inaugural episode, they discussed the organizational depth at shortstop, featuring a deep dive into the development of Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Trey Sweeney, an interview with Peraza, and a discussion with Sweeney’s college coach (and former Yankees pitcher), Jason Anderson.

Lindsey Adler | The Athletic: Everyone’s favourite mustachioed pitcher, Nestor Cortes, has dominated a lot of the early-season discussion after continuing his streak of excellent results that dates back to his out-of-nowhere ascent last season. In this profile of the Yankees’ fan-favourite pitcher, Adler takes a look at what makes Nasty Nestor so much fun, how he has come to terms with the type of pitcher he is, and how his approach to the game has led to his no-fear approach on the mound. (Note: This is behind a paywall, but it’s very good.)

Randy Miller | NJ.com: Before the recent offensive explosion from the Yankees’ lineup, the work that the pitching staff has done in the early going had dominated the headlines, and for good reason. The starters, with the exception of two or three starts, have been excellent thus far, and the bullpen has become arguably the best ‘pen in the entire league. Luckily for New York, the starting rotation continued its excellent early-season performance during the winning streak, and now that Gerrit Cole is back to looking like himself again, as Miller says, this pitching staff could really be a force to be reckoned with this season.