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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 5/8/15

A-Rod's still worth rooting for as he passes Willie Mays, Chase Whitley and thoughts on the Yankees' rotation, and Tony Tarasco looks back on that infamous play 19 years ago.

Al Bello/Getty Images | Ben Glicksman: Alex Rodriguez might have upset some baseball fans by passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list with number 661, but he's still a compelling figure to cheer given how much criticism he has endured, particularly in contrast to athletes who were far worse people.

FanGraphs | Owen Watson: Chase Whitley might not be a legitimate long-term solution in the rotation, but he's filling in for Masahiro Tanaka nicely thanks to a pretty terrific changeup. Maybe the most important factor for the team is that according to Watson, they've played the most difficult schedule in baseball of all 30 teams and have still gone 18-11. Not bad. | Jamal Collier: Speaking of Tanaka, he made 50 throws at 60 feet with no pain on Thursday night, and Brian Cashman continues to maintain that injury is a "minor issue." He will throw again today and then after a day off to check his health, the Yankees could plan out a rehab assignment for him.

NY Daily News | Anthony McCarron: Does the name Tony Tarasco ring a bell to you? If not, then let a fan named Jeffery Maier remind you. Tarasco's now the first base coach for the Nationals and he still gets questions about being in the middle of one of the most controversial calls of all-time. What does he think of them? | Mike Petriello: Statcast breaks down the tremendous play Didi Gregorius made on a grounder behind third base yesterday, where had to run 25 feet away from first before unleashing a strike. Go go Didi defense!

SB Nation | Jon Bois: In a new SBN feature perfectly titled "Pretty Good," Jon Bois decided to talk about reliever Dae-Sung Koo's absolutely improbable double (and run scored from second on a bunt) at Shea Stadium off Randy Johnson while he was with the Yankees in 2005. As embarrassed as I was at the time watching it, time heals all wounds, and it is 100 percent worth the 10 minutes for the hilarity.