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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/4/23

Aaron Judge begins hitting off a tee; Clay Holmes an All-Star snub?; Carlos Rodón and his wife discuss mental health; Boone talks about recent ejection

MLB: New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

NY Post | Dan Martin: The Yankees have been without injured star Aaron Judge since June 3rd, as he nurses a torn ligament on his right big toe. He had been limited to playing catch, but just took a nice step towards an eventual return.

Judge has now begun hitting off a tee. Per Yankees manager Aaron Boone, the 2022 AL MVP is doing “what he can tolerate” physically. “His swing looks great,’’ said hitting coach Dillon Lawson. “It looks like he’s not missing anything. He’s able to turn on his back [right] foot and it doesn’t look like it’s bothering him at all.”

Judge is believed to be week-to-week as opposed to day-to-day, so the team and fans will still need to exercise patience.

Fox Sports | Jordan Shusterman: The initial rosters for the 2023 All-Star Game in Seattle have already been published. Only Judge and Gerrit Cole were selected for the Yankees, and the former won’t be able to play because of that toe injury.

There were some All-Star snubs around the league, too, and Fox Sports thinks Yankees reliever Clay Holmes was one of them. “He’s been the most reliable button for manager Aaron Boone to press within a bullpen that boasts the lowest ERA of any relief corps MLB,” said Shusterman.

Holmes has a 2.36 ERA, 2.18 FIP, and 43 strikeouts in 34.1 innings of work, including a save last night against the Orioles.

New York Daily News | Gary Phillips: Carlos and Ashley Rodón spoke about the importance of mental health and how the couple has had to endure their fair share of struggles since the pitcher’s days as a minor leaguer — including multiple surgeries, inconsistent on-field performance by the hurler, and two heartbreaking miscarriages for Ashley.

“I shouldn’t minimize it,” Rodón said of his mental battles, but he understands others have had it much worse. “That’s minimal compared to what a lot of people deal with.”

Through the years, the couple has developed empathy, and Rodón has been involved in MLB Together which a recent league-wide initiative to raise awareness about mental health and promote social change.

NJ Advance Media | Kevin Manahan: Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected for a fifth time this year on Sunday. Umpire Dan Merzel tossed him in the third inning as the St. Louis Cardinals and old friend Jordan Montgomery dominated the Bombers. Boone was complaining against a strike call when DJ LeMahieu was hitting. It was Boone’s 31st ejection in five seasons.

“I think Dan is a really good, young umpire,” Boone said. “The rope and the leash [were] very short, though. I had a real problem with that. The sensitivity on that and just the quick throw out was brutal, was ridiculous. You’ve got to have thicker skin than that. You’ve got to have a little bit of room to let us say something.”