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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/14/23

Cortes goes down with injury; MLB locks in automatic runner for future; what would “The Year After” look like for Judge?; spring training storylines

Championship Series - Houston Astros v New York Yankees - Game Four Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

NJ Advance Media | Randy Miller: All-Star Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 right hamstring strain and won’t be pitching in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA. His availability for Opening Day in now in question, as he will spend the next couple of weeks rehabbing. He will be permitted to play catch and work out in the meantime.

Cortes discussed the injury: “I didn’t think of it much. I thought it was just a cramp, then later that night I went to put on a shoe and felt a little pull there. Once I showed up (to Tampa) with a little bruise, the medical staff decided to take control of it.”

MLB Trade Rumors | Darragh McDonald: The automatic/ghost/zombie runner at second base in extra innings will be regularly enforced at the MLB level from 2023 and beyond. the Joint Competition Committee voted unanimously in favor of the measure on Monday. It had been in place on an interim basis from 2020-22.

Additionally, in order to somewhat reduce the number of position players pitching, they will only be allowed to do so in extra innings, or in the ninth inning if the leading team is up by ten or more runs or anytime if the trailing team is down by eight or more.

New York Post | Mike Vaccaro: In 2022, AL MVP Aaron Judge had 62 homers, 133 runs, 131 RBI, 177 hits, a .311 batting average, a .686 slugging percentage, a 1.111 OPS, and a 207 wRC+. Vaccaro goes through what could be “The Year After” for him.

He says that those totals and rate stats are virtually out of the question for a second straight season, but if Judge stays healthy and produces like he has in the past, before 2022, that would give the Yankees a nice foundation.

NY Daily News | Matthew Roberson: Spring training is only a day away, and there are several interesting storylines to follow regarding the Yankees. Roberson goes through five of them.

How the young guns fare against MLB pitching, whether Oswald Peraza can take over shortstop, the battle for the fifth starter gig, the battle to be the fourth outfielder and how struggling players rebound are some of the things that everyone will be looking at during the spring.