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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 8/12/23

Nestor could be done for 2023; Looking back at the turning point of the 2009 World Series; Florial finally cutting down on Ks; Reality needs to set in

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Yankees, Game 2 Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

MLB Trade Rumors | Darragh McDonald: It wouldn’t be the 2023 season without starting the news roundup with an injury update. Unfortunately, Nestor Cortes is returning to the 15-day IL with a rotator cuff strain, one that will shut him down from throwing for at least a month (and thus likely ending his season). With Nick Ramirez being optioned to Triple-A on Thursday, that opened up two spots on the active roster, filled by Randy Vásquez and Jhony Brito. The latter will probably start — or at least appear as the bulk guy — tonight in Nestor’s place. | Matt Monagan: The 2023 season has been quite a bit depressing, so let’s look at some history. The 2009 season was a boatload of fun, but after Cliff Lee dominated the electric Yankees lineup in Game 1, vibes were at an all-time low. Fortunately, the Yankees had an ace up their sleeve: Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, whose newly-released hit “Empire State of Mind” had become the anthem of the Yankees’ playoff run. Looking for a momentum swing, the Bombers invited the pair to perform live before Game 2. Their performance reinvigorated both the crowd and the Yankees, who went on to win four of the next five games to secure their 27th World Series championship. Click ahead for the story, stay for Ramiro Pena with a mini-camcorder.

And I can tell you, from going to college near Philadelphia, “Empire State of Mind” stirs only bad memories and is “carmen non grata” in the City of Brotherly Love. | Randy Miller: It’s no secret that the Yankees have been desperate for outfield help this season. They went into spring training with no left fielder on the roster, using utilityman Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks — whom the team cut ties with at the first possible opportunity — to fill the role. Over the course of the year, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Billy McKinney, Jake Bauers, Greg Allen, Franchy Cordero, and Willie Calhoun have seen time in the outfield in addition to intended starters Aaron Judge, Harrison Bader, and part-time outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.

Despite this turnover, the Yankees have not turned to Estevan Florial, the former top prospect who, at long last, seems to finally be cutting down on the strikeout rate — the major weakness that has kept him back all these years. He’ll be a minor league free agent at season’s end, so perhaps Florial will find another team to give him a real major league opportunity next year.

New York Post | Greg Joyce: On July 8, 2022, the Yankees looked unstoppable. They sat 61-23, just three games behind the 1998 team after 84 games who were 64-20 on July 11th, and they held a 15.5 game lead in the American League East. Since then, they’ve been mired in mediocrity, with a 100-102 record over their previous 202 games headed into action last night.

Despite this long track record, the organization has — at least publicly — continually pointed to the hot start to 2022 and the backs of their veterans’ baseball cards to insist that things were about to change. At some point, however, reality has to set in. (See Andrew’s piece the other day for more.)