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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 9/5/22

Benintendi to undergo surgery, 2022 fate unknown; Judge inching closer to Maris; benches clear in Yankees-Rays game; On Rizzo’s return

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports | Bryan Hoch: Yankees outfielder Andrew Benintendi broke the hook of the hamate bone in his right hand on Friday’s game against the Rays, according to manager Aaron Boone. The initial X-rays came back negative, but since he felt a pop on his wrist after a swing, the Yankees had him undergo additional testing to confirm the bad news. He will need surgery.

Benintendi was one of the few Yankees who was producing, with a .298/.339/.474 line over his last 15 games, but he will be out of action for the foreseeable future. The outfielder said that he will speak with specialists in New York and believes that he may be able to make it back before the end of the season, although that’s far from a given.

New York Post | Dan Martin: The Yankees have had all kinds of offensive issues in recent weeks. However, the one constant in the middle of the continued struggles has been Aaron Judge. The outfielder hit his 53rd home run of the year on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays, as the Yanks got a much-needed win to stop the bleeding.

Judge hit a monstrous home run into the upper deck in left field at Tropicana Field. He is now just eight round-trippers from tying the franchise record for a single season, held by Roger Maris in 1961 with 61. Yesterday’s homer helped Judge establish a new personal high, surpassing the 52 he hit in 2017 when he was a rookie (though technically, he should’ve had 53 that year if not for a bad call in April).

NJ Advance Media | Brendan Kuty: Josh Donaldson and the Rays clearly don’t like each other. The Yankees’ infielder was in the middle of a benches-clearing incident in the second frame, when Shawn Armstrong pitched him up and in and a verbal confrontation ensued.

Donaldson yelled at Armstrong and had to be held back by catcher Christian Bethancourt. Benches cleared, but no punches were thrown. Evidently, the two teams don’t like each other, especially as the Rays are now much closer to the Yanks in the standings and are looking to take the AL East division crown away from them. Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo is reportedly doing better after having an epidural injection administered on Thursday by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. He had been suffering from back pain and missed the series against the Rays in Tampa, though he is not on the IL. Rizzo’s recent MRI came back clean, and per Boone, he will perform baseball activities today and a return to the lineup on Tuesday is not out of the question.

(Update: Just kidding. Rizzo got awful headaches from the epidural and will not be with the team until Wednesday. Great!)

Also of note: injured reliever Scott Effross is in a throwing program and is set to throw a bullpen session on September 9th. He pitched well in eight games after coming over from the Cubs at the trade deadline, but has been on the shelf for two weeks with a shoulder strain.