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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 4/26/23

What Cole and Torres are doing differently in 2023; Bader’s rehab schedule; Reynolds extended by Pirates; Judge doing his part to make Volpe comfortable

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

FanGraphs | Esteban Rivera: Hey, we know this guy! Esteban wrote for FanGraphs about what Gerrit Cole has done in 2023 to put his occasional struggles from 2022 behind him. There actually are some small tweaks made by Cole to make this happen, and honestly I’m not going to even give a SparkNotes version of this because you should really support Esteban’s fantastic work.

New York Times | Matt Martell: From the story of one adjustment to another one, the Times discussed how Gleyber Torres’ evolution at the plate has changed over the years due to different circumstances. Trying to be a shortstop changed his body type a little bit, and as a result, Torres believes that’s what got his swing out of whack for a little while from 2020-21. After improvements last year, he also worked out on his plate discipline in the Venezuelan Winter League, and that has stuck even while he’s slumped over the past couple weeks. Both Torres and the team feel confident that by sticking this new approach, he’ll soon weather this recent skid and get back to his hot start. | Bryan Hoch: Harrison Bader’s rehab assignment was transferred from Double-A Somerset to Triple-A Scranton. He’ll play with the RailRiders this week in Worcester (the Patriots are also out of town this week). Hoch noted that the Yankees’ timeline for Bader seems to have him on track to potentially return to New York for their series at Tropicana Field against the Rays, which begins on May 5th. He has been out since mid-March with an oblique injury.

MLB Trade Rumors | Steve Adams: In case you missed big MLB scuttlebutt from yesterday, Bryan Reynolds is no longer a Yankees trade target. The long-coveted switch-hitting outfielder reportedly signed an eight-year, $106.75 million contract extension with the Pirates, and it includes a no-trade clause. I had some longer thoughts on the Reynolds extension here, but the gist is that this is all a reminder that the Yankees can’t just make trades with a snap of a finger. Reynolds and the Bucs had a very long negotiating window, and since it turned out that there was serious interest on both sides to get something done, that’s exactly what they did. It happens.

The Athletic | Brendan Kuty: New Yankees captain Aaron Judge has been doing his part to make sure that highly touted rookie Anthony Volpe is welcome during his first month in the majors. He quietly arranged to pay for Volpe’s first suit to wear on road trips, invited him to watch a Rangers playoff game with him, his wife, and Harrison Bader, and that’s just to name a couple small gestures. Since the Yankees were going through a serious roster transition when Judge first came up in August 2016*, he didn’t get quite the same experience and wants Volpe to feel as comfortable as possible.

*Though the article does mention that Brett Gardner invited Judge to live at his house outside the City to help maintain at least a little anonymity.

Other small notes

  • As Jake wrote yesterday, veteran southpaw Nick Ramirez is now up with the Yankees to provide some bullpen support after Jhony Brito provided only 2.2 innings on Monday. They already had an extra spot on their 40-man roster so no move was needed there, though Greg Weissert did have to be demoted to Triple-A to make room.
  • Catching prospect Austin Wells has begun a rehab assignment with Low-A Tampa. He has been out since March 1st with a broken rib. When he’s back in game form, he should report to Double-A Somerset, which is where he ended 2023.
  • Old friend Luis Medina was called up to the A’s to make his MLB debut. He’ll start tonight at Angel Stadium against Patrick Sandoval. In a somewhat sobering reminder of what ultimately happens to so many pitching prospects, the corresponding move was the demotion another Baby Bomber once traded to Oakland, James Kaprielian.