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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/13/23

LeMahieu, Torres, second-base ump nursing injuries; On sweepers’ official classification; Top MiLB team per club; Salt Lake City expansion?

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Cincinnati Reds v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images The Yankees’ starting lineup yesterday featured two notable absences in Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu, and it wasn’t simply due to a normal rest day. Torres skipped the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s blowout with right hip flexor tightness, and while LeMahieu played the full nine, he also felt some tightness in his quad. Yankees skipper Aaron Boone classified LeMahieu as “day-to-day” and said that it’s unclear if he’ll play today against the Twins. Torres, however, did pinch-run for Giancarlo Stanton in the ninth inning yesterday. Fingers crossed that both players are on the up and up.

Associated Press | Tom Withers: There was a scary moment during the series finale on Wednesday in Cleveland, as second-base umpire Larry Vanover was hit in the head on a relay throw following Kyle Higashioka’s RBI single in the fifth. The 67-year-old was able to leave the field of his own accord but was understandably treated for a head injury. As of the time of writing, it sounds like Vanover will be kept overnight at the Cleveland Clinic and will have to pass concussion protocols before he returns to the field. (And yes, manager Aaron Boone sent his best wishes despite getting ejected by Vanover earlier in the game.)

New York Times | Tyler Kepner: A new development in pitching this year is MLB officially marking certain offerings as “sweepers” rather than lumping them in as sliders (which initially look like fastballs to a hitter, unlike sweepers). For those who read PSA, this is no new term, as it has taken the Yankees and many other teams by storm. Kepner has gone very deep on pitching in the past, and he did a good profile of the sweeper for the Times, including helpful quotes from pitching coach Matt Blake and reliever Michael King, as well as insight from former Yankees David Cone and Jeff Nelson. The latter two essentially threw sweepers in the ‘90s and early 2000s, though obviously they weren’t classified as such. | Jim Callis, Sam Dykstra, and Jonathan Mayo: The MLB Pipeline crew went through all 30 MLB teams and picked one minor league team within each organization to keep an eye on throughout 2023. The Double-A Somerset Patriots were the pick for the Yankees, and it’s not hard to see why. They have the highly-regarded Jasson Domínguez leading the way, but they have five other top 10 organizational prospects too, including 2021 first-rounder Trey Sweeney and a talented outfielder already on the Yankees’ 40-man roster in Everson Pereira.

MLB Trade Rumors | Darragh McDonald: We’ll wrap up the news this morning with a peek at MLB’s possible future. Expansion (or relocation) to Nashville, Portland, or Las Vegas has been discussed in recent years, but you can add Salt Lake City into the mix as well. Former Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller is leading a group that’s making the case for an MLB club to play in the Rocky Mountain Power District. It’s a fascinating thought should it ever come to pass.

Also, this gives me the opportunity to note that Yankees Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri once hit 60 homers and 222 RBI in a 197-game season for the Salt Lake City Bees before coming east. That really happened!