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

Hal Steinbrenner plays coy; How Clay Holmes learned to stop worrying and love the sinker; Another pitching prospect steps up; Rachel Balkovec reflects on start of trailblazing career.

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MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports | Pat Ragazzo: On Wednesday afternoon, Hal Steinbrenner held a Zoom conference call with members of the media in which he addressed a number of topics, including Joey Gallo’s struggles, Brian Cashman’s expiring contract, the decision to not sign a shortstop, and more.

The most attention, however, has to go to his comments on the Aaron Judge contract situation. He acknowledged that, even though it was disappointing to not reach an agreement with the superstar, he has no regrets with the way the negotiations played out, and has committed to not making any in-season contract talks public. He says that he, along with the team (and Judge in particular), is committed to winning a championship, and does not want this situation to distract the organization from that goal. You can read more details about the full extent of the call here. | Bridget Hyland: Another day, another pitcher in the Yankees organization stepping their game up. This time around, the spotlight is on Luis Medina. The young flamethrower was named the hottest pitching prospect in the Yankees system according to MLB Pipeline. Currently ranked as the 11th best prospect in the organization, Medina has put up a solid year in Double-A despite some control issues that pop up from time to time. Medina’s name likely isn’t new to most Yankees fans, but it’s a good thing that he’s turning heads this early in his career.

New York Post | Jared Greenspan: Rachel Balkovec made waves when she was hired as manager of the Low-A Tampa Tarpons in the offseason, becoming the first woman to hold a managerial job at any level of the professional leagues. Things got off to an inauspicious start for Balkovec when she was hit in the face with a line drive during practice and the team struggled through the first half of the season, but the season has taken a turn for the better for the Tarpons lately and Balkovec’s team is starting to find their footing. In this profile, Balkovec reflects on the start to her barrier-breaking career and where she hopes to one day end up.

The Athletic | Lindsey Adler: (subscription required) This excellent profile from The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler details how Clay Holmes went from struggling relief arm for one of the worst teams in baseball to arguably the best reliever in the entire league. The key? Trusting his sinker, apparently. According to Matt Blake and others quoted in this piece, Holmes is a “super-processor” of analytics who not only seeks to figure out what he needs to do to get better, but also tries to understand why he should do it that way. Holmes’s dedication to his craft has paid off in a monumental way, and he’s striving to continue to get better.