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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/7/22

John Sterling to curtail travel for road games; starting rotation has been truly elite; Zack Britton hoping to return this season; the success of Judge and the team in context

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Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

New York Post | Andrew Marchand: The longtime radio voice of the Yankees, John Sterling, is going to be heard a lot less in the second half. He’s going to skip between 25 and 30 road games in the second half, only travelling to Boston and Baltimore, as well as when the Yankees take on the Mets at Citi Field. Candidates to fill his spot in those games include YES announcer Ryan Ruocco, digital host Justin Shackil, Yankees Spanish language play-by-player Rickie Ricardo, and Suzyn Waldman herself, who could move to play-by-play instead of her usual color commentator role. Sterling has a style of his own with its various foibles, but it will be interesting to hear new blood in the booth and see if anyone can distinguish themselves as a possible eventual successor.

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: The Yankees are rolling again, featuring the best record of any team through this point of the season since the record-setting 2001 Seattle Mariners. While they’re among the best at scoring runs in the league, it’s been the performance of the starting rotation that’s really setting them up for success lately. Since May 31st, the quintet has posted a 0.85 ERA, 1.92 FIP, and 27.2 percent strikeout rate. That’s some ridiculous stuff. Additionally, over the last 15 games, the starting pitcher has thrown at least 6 innings in 14 out of them, with the exception being JP Sears’ spot start (which still involved five shutout frames). Their work is keeping the bullpen from getting worn down early,. While questions remain about the durability of the non-Gerrit Cole cohort, their are certainly no problems right now.

Sports Illustrated | Gary Phillips: Zack Britton is still early in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, but both he and the coaching staff are hopeful that he can return late this season. On Friday, he threw his first bullpen session in Florida, which went well. He will still have to complete quite a few more before moving on to facing live hitters, however. Britton last pitched in August 2021. If he can return healthy and effective, that could be a late-season lift for the bullpen as a whole.

The Athletic | Lindsey Adler (sub. req’d): Adler also delves in the Yankees’ incredible start, noting their 117-win pace and their league-leading offense, rotation, and bullpen. She also looks at Judge in particular, pointing out his 200 wRC+ signifying his being twice as good as the average player (is that all?). He’s outdoing his would-be MVP season in 2017. She also discussed the long voyage of Manny Bañuelos, who was finally able to throw his first regular season pitches for the Yankees, 12 years after he first signed.