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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 10/24/23

Yanks’ prospect tearing up AFL; Monty making CC proud; “Mr. October” throws jab at the Yankees; several Bombers chosen in Middle East and South Asia professional league

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Baseball America: The Lucas Luetge trade with the Atlanta Braves in late 2022 gave the Yankees a very intriguing prospect in Caleb Durbin. The infielder was, in the week that just finished, one of the hottest players in the Arizona Fall League with two homers, five walks, three steals and a 9-for-19 showing for Mesa.

Durbin battled some injuries in the year, but reached Double-A and had a .291/.361/.440 line and a 122 wRC+ in 47 games there, with four homers, 21 steals and a beautiful 4.6-percent strikeout rate. Capable of playing second, third, and shortstop, there is a chance Durbin makes it all the way to MLB next year or is used as a trade piece.

New York Daily News | Gary Phillips: A little more than a year ago, the Yankees were willing to trade left-hander Jordan Montgomery because they felt he wouldn’t be a factor in the postseason. Today, Monty has posted a 2.16 ERA in 25 playoff innings with the Texas Rangers and takes his career October ERA to 1.99 — and that includes his 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of Max Scherzer in the victorious ALCS Game 7, cementing his place as a postseason hero in Texas.

Yankees great CC Sabathia is watching closely as his former teammate and friend stars in October. He refers to him as his “little brother,” which seems appropriate given the 13-year gap between them, and proceeded to discuss his relationship with him when both shared the same clubhouse in the Bronx.

“When he first came up, he was super coachable and just wanted to learn as much as he could,” Sabathia said. “And obviously, him being left-handed, we kind of have the relationship that me and Andy [Pettitte] had where I would just follow him around the whole time and kind of learn from him. Monty did the same thing, and now we have this relationship where we talk and break down the game or break down different things and sometimes not even talk about the game. It’s a good relationship.”

Montgomery, who has been using Sabathia’s No. 52 while with Texas, is sure making him proud with his performance. “It may have been a leftover number,” Sabathia said, “but he texted me right when he got it. He was like, ‘I’m gonna wear 52 for that second-half run you had in Milwaukee [in 2008].’ He’s been matching it, so it’s been good.”

NJ Advance Media | Manuel Gómez: Yankees legend Reggie Jackson, currently a special advisor to Houston Astros owner Jim Crane, had some things to say about the Bombers’ willingness to listen to the advice of franchise icons like himself.

“I’d say the biggest difference between us (the Astros), and really most other teams and especially with the Yankees... your voice isn’t heard,” Jackson said. “You didn’t participate. You know, I walked away because I wanted to be involved and leave my knowledge in the game. I certainly think that I know that Derek Jeter still loves the Yankees. Andy Pettitte* still loves the Yankees. (Rodriguez) is still a Yankee and I’m still a Yankee, but we didn’t get a chance to be involved in some of the say-so in our opinions really didn’t get valued.”

*Editor’s note: It is worth noting that the Yankees respect Pettitte’s advice so much that they hired him as an advisor midseason.

“Mr. October” won two World Series back in the day with the Yankees, plus three with the Oakland Athletics in the seventies. However, his relationship with the Yanks doesn’t seem to be at its best at the moment. | Ryan Chichester: Baseball United, a new professional league with teams of the United Arab Emirates, India and Pakistan, had its first draft on Monday, and you won’t believe some of the names chosen. There were several former Yankees among the picks, most notably Didi Gregorius, Robinson Canó, David Huff, and Bartolo Colón. 2010 first-rounder Cito Culver was also chosen in the event.

Other former major leaguers selected were Pablo Sandoval, Andrelton Simmons, Jair Jurrjens, Shed Long, Alejandro De Aza, Wilin Rosario, Dovydas Neverauskas, Rusney Castillo, and more. The league will have its inaugural showcase on November 24th in Dubai.