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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/15/22

Castillo twirls a gem in front of Yankees as trade intrigue rises; Benintendi no longer a target due to unvaccinated status; Severino dealing with lat strain; Holmes is generating grounders at historic pace.

Cincinnati Reds v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

NY Post | Mike Vaccaro: The Yankees are in the market for upgrades, and they got to witness one of their potential targets carve them up for seven innings. Luis Castillo was on fire in the Bronx on Thursday, adding another start to his dominant run of late that has teams heavily invested in acquiring him. The rotation has started to show signs of worry, and despite the elite regular season record they could use another piece to set them up for the postseason — so why not Castillo? The Reds may opt not to deal him, but if he’s on the table then the Yankees need to be seated.

NY Post | Justin Tasch: You can already cross off one name from the trade market that the Yankees have been connected to, but it’s not because someone else beat them to the punch. Royals All-Star Andrew Benintendi had been one of the names most floated around the organization, but after it became known that Benintendi is not making the trip to Toronto with the Royals due to his unvaccinated status, it appears the Yankees are no longer interested. It makes sense, given the team’s future games in Toronto and the likelihood of facing them in the postseason, and the unity that the current locker room has displayed in having a fully vaccinated team already. There are other teams still looking into him, including the Jays who hope that he might be convinced if he has to play half of his games there, but you can count the Yankees out here. | Randy Miller: Before Thursday’s game the Yankees got the results of Luis Severino’s MRI, and it seems to be pretty optimistic. Severino left his start on Wednesday after just two innings due to shoulder tightness, but he was officially diagnosed with a low grade lat strain. This means that he should be out for just a couple of weeks, and be in line to return for the stretch run. Of course, there is some concern to be had whenever you talk injuries with Severino, and this is the problem area that he’s dealt with over the past couple of years, so we’ll see how in line that target ends up being.

FiveThirtyEight | Alex Kirshner: Clay Holmes has been electric this season, and it’s largely thanks to his shutdown sinker. The Yankee closer has relied heavily on the pitch, and hitters have for the most part been unable to adjust to it. When they are making contact with it, they’re putting it on the ground at a historic pace — an 83 percent groundball rate as of Tuesday, several points higher than Zack Britton’s 80 percent rate from the 2016 season. Check out this profile on the man that Kirshner dubs “the apex predator for the US worm population.”