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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/25/23

Yankees announce Donaldson will start rehab stint alongside Kahnle today; Stanton will go through tests and should soon follow; Judge proves to be a weapon in the incredibly tough AL East

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Trade Rumors | Steve Adams: Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson has been hobbled by a hamstring strain suffered in early April. The days have passed, and he has encountered a couple of setbacks along the way. However, he seems set to start a new rehab assignment — one that he’s actually seeking to complete this time.

Manager Aaron Boone said that Donaldson will start a minor league rehab stint today (Thursday) with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. As reported yesterday, rehabbing reliever Tommy Kahnle will be there as well, though this will be his third appearance after two in Low-A Tampa.

The Yankees expect Donaldson to be an everyday player upon returning. He took on-field batting practice at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday and reported no issues. Earlier this year, Donaldson went 2-for-16 with New York before landing on the injured list. Last year, he hit a disappointing .222/.308/.374 in 546 plate appearances, but rated positively on defense according to both OAA (+7) and DRS (+7). Another injured Yankee, Giancarlo Stanton, is nearing his own minor league rehab assignment. On the injured list with a Grade 2 left hamstring strain since April 16, the slugger is tentatively expected to be playing in minor leagues this weekend, but he will need his tests today to come up clean.

Boone said that the former MVP has been “feeling really good, ready to go, for probably several days now.” Getting Stanton back would give the lineup another elite piece as the Yanks move forward.

New York Post | Jon Heyman: MLB insider Heyman describes how tough the AL East is this year, and how Aaron Judge is proving he can be a reliable, consistent weapon all year as the Yankees try to position themselves in the division.

“You better bring your lunch box every day, and you better be ready to put on your hard hat,” remarked Anthony Rizzo. “There’s no easy days, that’s for sure.”

Judge saved the Yanks on Tuesday night with a two-strike, game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth. You could say he has been saving them for a while now, as he had homered eight times in his last nine games before Wednesday’s matchup against the O’s.

The East is incredibly tough this year, sure, but as Heyman notes, “the Yankees might wind up being an even bigger force, too, thanks largely to the great Judge.”