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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/18/22

Severino back and starting Sunday; Judge’s biggest improvement from previous years; Montgomery and the rebirth of the sinker; Rizzo stepping into leadership role

Chicago Cubs v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

ESPN | Associated Press: Luis Severino gave the Yankees and their fans quite a scare when he was scratched from his Thursday night start and placed on the COVID-19 IL. Thankfully, it appeared it was an overnight bug, as he is feeling better and was reinstated from the IL in time to join the Yankees for the series in Toronto. And according to manager Aaron Boone through Lindsey Adler of The Athletic, Severino will start Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays, provided he is still feeling 100 percent. Gerrit Cole was due to pitch but will throw on Monday in Tampa Bay instead. | David Adler: Aaron Judge is playing on another level from every other player in baseball, and one stat in particular tells the story. Judge hits pitchers’ pitches better than any other hitter in MLB. He owns the highest OPS and is second in average and slugging against pitches on the inside and outside edges of the zone. These are perfectly executed pitches from the pitcher’s standpoint, and yet Judge has turned what should be a weakness into a strength. Adler walks through the adjustments Judge has made from previous seasons that are allowing him to do damage against those pitches.

FanGraphs | Justin Choi: Nothing exemplifies the ebb-and-flow, cyclical nature of trends in baseball better than fastball usage. Specifically, we have seen the league shift away from sinkers in favor of rising four-seamers over the last ten or so years. Well, it appears pitchers are starting to reverse their course and go back to the sinker, and Jordan Montgomery and the Yankees are at the forefront of this movement. Choi credits an uptick in sinker velocity and greater understanding of how seam orientation can augment horizontal movements as drivers for this re-embrace of the sinker.

MLB Trade Rumors | Darragh McDonald: Ryan Weber did better than pretty much anyone could have expected Thursday night after his emergency call-up to piggyback the series finale against the Rays when Luis Severino was scratched with illness. He gave up a run on two hits, continuing his strong start to the season beginning in Triple-A. However, with Severino’s reinstatement off the COVID-IL, the Yankees officially designated Weber for assignment to free up the major league roster spot. The Yankees have a week to trade him or place him on waivers, and he can elect free agency rather than except an outright assignment to the minors should he pass through waivers.

NJ Advance Media | Brendan Kuty: Anthony Rizzo held a closed-door meeting with the team after their 2-1 walk-off victory over the Rays, and you can bet everyone listened. He emphasized that it is going to take contributions from every single man on the roster to accomplish their ultimate goal, and all you can do is be ready for that moment. As one of two players on the active roster with a ring, it’s safe to say he knows what he’s talking about.