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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/4/23

Luis Severino not permitted to play for Dominican Republic in WBC; Max Kepler off the table; Offseason grades for all 30 teams; Post-home-run-record lessons for Aaron Judge; Yankees’ official 2023 schedule released

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Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game Two Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

WFAN | Ryan Chichester: The fifth edition of the World Baseball Classic is set to get underway in just over a month, but one prominent member of the Yankees will not be participating. Luis Severino is eligible to play for the Dominican Republic, however Brian Cashman will not permit him to pitch for his home country. As part of the joint MLB and MLBPA agreement to run the tournament, MLB teams have the final say on whether to release their players to their national teams. While it’s understandable that the Yankees want to be cautious with Severino’s health given his recent serious injuries, it’s another example of disagreement between team and pitcher over the last few seasons.

NJ Advance Media | Mike Rosenstein: Much has been made of the Yankees’ need in left field, however it appears the player to whom they have been most concretely linked is no longer available. Max Kepler may not have a place in the Twins’ crowded outfield, especially after the addition of Michael A. Taylor, but Minnesota appear content to carry the soon-to-be 30 year old into the season. Kepler launched 36 home runs in the juiced ball 2019 season, but hit only .227 with nine long balls last season and is set to earn $8.5 million in 2023.

USA Today | Bob Nightengale and Gabe Lacques: Fans might not be satisfied by the overall business conducted by the Yankees this offseason, however Nightengale and Lacques feel they had one of the best winters of any team in baseball. New York were one of three clubs to earn an A grade from the pair, alongside the Phillies and Padres. Keeping Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo while adding one of the best free agent pitchers in Carlos Rodón will go a long way to earning the approval of certain writers.

New York Post | Dan Martin: Roger Maris Jr. was a fixture at games and on television broadcasts as he watched Aaron Judge chase down his father’s 61-year-old record, but he’s not quite ready to cede his moment in the spotlight. In an interview with the Post, Maris Jr. offered some advice to the new Yankees captain based on his father’s experiences in the season following his 61-homer 1961 campaign. The pressure of the home run chase took an emotional toll on the older Maris, and it took an extra effort to get fully into gear for the next season.

Sports Illustrated | Jack Vita: The Yankees’ 2023 official schedule has been released, with the Bombers opening the season in the Bronx against the noted losers in the Aaron Judge sweepstakes, the San Francisco Giants. This season will be the first to feature the balanced schedule, with each team scheduled to play a series against each of the 29 other teams. It will also feature a reduced intra-divisional game load, with the Yankees playing 13 games against each of their AL East opponents as opposed to 18 in previous seasons.