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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/17/23

Hamilton one of MLB’s top 10 breakout relievers, but faces IL stint; Behind the scenes of Marinaccio’s ascent; Judgey Judgey Lookgate (or something)

New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images | Theo DeRosa: Back in January, no one really thought twice about the Yankees signing right-hander Ian Hamilton to a minor league contract and inviting him to spring training. But the former big leaguer has rode his “slambio” to some of the best relief numbers in baseball, and the 27-year-old was named by’s 10 breakout relievers from early 2023. It’s not hard to see why, as Hamilton has fanned a higher percentage of batters (33.7 percent) than all but two relievers in baseball with at least 20 innings to their name.

The above is all that I wanted to write. Alas, the real world has intercepted this once-innocent communique. Hamilton entered last night’s game in relief of the ejected Domingo Germán. (This isn’t formally in the news, but the click the link for our story, as he was tossed following an illegal foreign substance check and now likely faces a 10-game suspension. Ick!) He got two outs but also walked a pair of batters, and after the second free pass, he had to leave with the trainer due to a groin injury and seems like a good bet to hit the injured list. He’ll travel back to New York and be evaluated later today.

MyCentralJersey | Mike Ashmore: One of our recent SB Nation Reacts survey posts discussed how Ron Marinaccio had elevated himself in the Yankee fan pantheon of trust above every bullpen arm except Michael King (recent shaky outings notwithstanding). It’s a pretty remarkable ascent for a mere second-year reliever who was a 19th-round pick out of Delaware in the 2017 MLB Draft, the 572nd player selected overall.

Marinaccio had pitched in the minors for a few years, but as Ashmore details from his interview, it wasn’t until August 2021 that the right-hander thought he could actually make it all the way to Yankee Stadium. Marinaccio also talked about his development with former minor leaguer pitching coach Daniel Moskos (now with the Cubs), who pushed him into better routines and postgame work.

Associated Press: I almost want to ignore this story entirely and not give it any helium, but it was all that anyone was buzzing about online yesterday, so ... so be it. Blue Jays skipper John Schneider and a couple of their announcers thought it was suspicious that Aaron Judge had his eyes directed into the Yankees’ dugout immediately before smashing a 462-foot homer late on Monday night. Never mind the fact that manager Aaron Boone had just been ejected following a bad strike call, the dugout was distractingly noisy, the random Toronto pitcher wasn’t exactly vintage Duane Ward, and there will be no investigation. Had to be a conspiracy!

(As an aside, even if there’s more to this: If one team is tipping pitches and the other team catches it and lets its best hitter know, that is completely legal.)

To wrap this edition of the news up with a nugget from last night’s game, take it away Aaron: