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

Rizzo scratched with back tightness; Players had “closed-door” meeting in March; Wells promoted to Double-A; A-Rod gives odds on Judge contract situation; Could Yanks trade for a former player?

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

NY Post | Dan Martin: Anthony Rizzo was scratched less than an hour before first pitch in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night due to lower back stiffness. The first baseman was on fire over his last five games, blasting three homers and recording an OPS of 1.181 during that span. Rizzo has 22 home runs on the season, tied for the fourth-most in Major League Baseball. After the game, manager Aaron Boone said that the team is hoping it will only be a day-to-day injury, but he might miss a couple days. | Brendan Kuty: If you thought this year’s Yankees team seems closer to each other than in the past, you’re probably right. In March, the players had a closed-door meeting, without coaches, to get to know each other better and speak about strengthen their ties before Opening Day. One theme of the chat was “Let’s not wait until we have some adversity to have a team meeting,” said DJ LeMahieu. “Let’s get together while we have some time in spring training to ensure that we go over what our expectations are for each other.”

Sports Illustrated | Max Goodman: The Yankees’ 2020 first-round draft pick Austin Wells has been promoted to Double-A Somerset. He began the year in High-A Hudson Valley, hitting .323/.429/.576 during 28 games there before dealing with an injury in mid-May that forced him to miss a month. He spent the last week and a half rehabbing in Low-A Tampa. With Somerset catcher Josh Breaux now in Triple-A, they had an opening, and the Yankees feel that Wells is ready for the greater challenge. His bat is his calling card, but he has made strides with his gloves this year, too.

NY Post | Justin Tasch: Alex Rodriguez received a couple of monster contracts during his playing career, and so he became the latest figure to offer his thoughts on the Aaron Judge contract situation. While speaking on The Post’s “The Show” podcast with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman, A-Rod opined that the Yanks have a 50 percent chance that they reach an agreement with Judge.

“This is a perfect storm,” said Rodriguez. “The most iconic player in our game today – that’s lacking big, unique, iconic players – and the most iconic franchise in the world in the New York Yankees. There’s a marriage made in heaven, but they both gambled, and I think that it’s gonna cost the New York Yankees a fortune. And I handicap it that there’s about a 50 percent chance that he comes back to the Yankees.”

Sports Illustrated | Max Goodman: The MLB Trade Deadline is less than a month away, and the Yankees are looking to make some moves potentially for former Yankees. Ji-Man Choi and Garrett Cooper were both listed as suitors for the Yanks. Would the Rays make a trade within the division? Do the Yankees need another first baseman? We’ll find out pretty soon.