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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/2/22

Yankees running out of options with Joey Gallo; Josh Donaldson thinks his slump is almost over; Lucas Luetge’s resurgence boosting bullpen; the chances of besting the 1998 team

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MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

NJ Advance Media | Brendan Kuty: Joey Gallo’s struggles with the Yankees are simply not getting better. While he was bad after being traded from Texas last year, this season he’s hit a nadir, and he hit .138 with 32 strikeouts over the month of June. That’s just unplayable, but the Yankees don’t really have any good options without a replacement for him. Letting him get consistent at-bats hasn’t seemed to help. They could bench him and use him as a late inning pinch runner and defensive replacement, but that would reduce his value if they want to trade him, as rumored. Kuty suggests the “phantom IL stint” could be a good breather for Gallo, but at this point it’s hard to imagine anything working. The Yankees also won’t just release him and let another team potentially figure out what the issue is while they pay his salary.

NJ Advance Media | Brendan Kuty: Third baseman Josh Donaldson is in quite a slump, with a .187 batting average and one home run over his last 25 games. It’s not the production needed from someone who’s supposed to provide a lot of power in the middle of the lineup. Donaldson, for his part, thinks the slump will be over soon, as he’s hitting more balls in the air rather than the ground and making hard contact. Aaron Boone also voiced his support and belief in the controversial infielder.

Sports Illustrated | Gary Phillips: Lucas Luetge’s surprise return to MLB as an excellent reliever was one of 2021’s feel-good stories, but to start out this year it looked like that year might have been a flash in the pan. His ERA in May was over 7.00 but he’s been much better as late, leading to more frequent usage (he also only threw five innings in May). His ERA over 11 innings in June was 0.77. Luetge certainly doesn’t have to be the relief ace considering the presence of Clay Holmes and Michael King, but a return to solid pitching is obviously welcome. He credits his renewed success to better command of his pitches, but it’s probably the mustache.

The Athletic | Jayson Stark: (Subscription required) As part of his roundup of the month of June around MLB, Stark lays down his prediction — this year’s Yankees will get more wins than the famous 1998 team. The team is virtually assured of making the playoffs, so that race is the real one to watch before the postseason begins. Stark thinks this because of their massive run differential, their record-breaking stint in not allowing unearned runs, and their existing winning percentage.