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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/6/23

Yankees awaiting Judge’s test results and diagnosis; Germán’s command looks much improved; LeMahieu’s struggles continue; Yanks confident in Volpe; previewing Donaldson’s option decision

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

NJ Advance Media | Randy Miller: The Yankees, and their fans, are holding their breath. They are waiting for some concrete news on Aaron Judge’s right big toe. It could potentially be fractured, in which case he could be out for a while. For now, we all wait for the results of the imaging. He suffered the injury in that majestic running catch late in Saturday’s game against the Dodgers, a play that helped secure a valuable victory. If, however, the toe is broken, Judge could be looking at several weeks on the shelf.

Asked if he’s worried about going on the injured list, he said: “I really don’t care at this point. If I’m on it, I’m on it.” The waiting game can be a cruel mistress. Judge has been carrying the Yankees ever since returning from his hip strain, and the team just wouldn’t be the same without him.

New York Post | Greg Joyce: Yankees right-hander Domingo Germán has been showing much better command in recent outings, and that has been the key to his success this season. After dominating the Dodgers for 6.2 innings (one run, one walk and six strikeouts) on Sunday, his ERA now stands at 3.69. Germán noted that he wanted to be aggressive in order to execute his pitches and it showed: his first 11 pitches Sunday all went for strikes, and he threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of the 25 hitters he faced.

New York Daily News | Gary Phillips: Typically well under 20 percent, DJ LeMahieu’s 2023 strikeout rate is up to 27.3 percent. Clearly, he is struggling with an uncharacteristic problem for him: whiffs.

LeMahieu has been hitting .206 since April 26th, and is at .153/.194/.254 in his last 15 games. LeMahieu is not injured, according to Boone, so it’s just one of those ugly stretches. The Yankees hope the former batting champ can get going soon at the plate, particularly if Aaron Judge misses time.

Newsday | Eric Boland: Anthony Volpe has had some rough stretches in his debut season for the Yankees. In fact, he is hitting under the Mendoza line as we speak. But he has also had some big hits in crucial spots, the most recent being a two-run home run against the Dodgers on Sunday to turn a 2-1 lead into a much more comfortable 4-1. Despite his overall struggles Volpe has had the clubhouse’s backing the whole time, and in particular Judge has vouched for him, just as veterans like CC Sabathia did for him in his first go through the majors.

MLB Trade Rumors | Anthony Franco: It’s still very, very early, but Franco went through some club option predictions for the offseason in the AL East. The Yankees only have one in the horizon: Josh Donaldson.

Actually, Donaldson’s $16 million club option turned into a mutual one with the 2022 trade that sent him to the Yankees. That’s not really ideal for the team because it comes with a $6 million buyout. Unsurprisingly, Franco predicted that unless Donaldson recovers his 2021 form for the entire second half, the Yanks probably aren’t exercising their end of the option:

“With a hefty $6MM buyout, there’s only a $10MM net call on the option. That’s not an outlandish price for a solid everyday player, but Donaldson’s offensive drop-off, age, and recent injury history all raise questions about whether he should be a regular on a team with playoff aspirations. Barring a summer offensive outburst from the three-time All-Star, the team is probably buying this out.”