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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 7/9/15

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If an AL East team lands Johnny Cueto, that team will likely become the favorite to win the division. Plus, Brett Gardner's All-Star campaign, Alex Rodriguez's new perspective, and the rest of the morning's headlines.

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NBC Sports Hardball Talk | Craig Calcaterra: The Yankees continue to scout Johnny Cueto, but they're not the only AL East team with an eye on the Reds' ace - the Orioles and Blue Jays also saw him pitch a shutout on Tuesday. Whichever team ends up with an impact arm at the trade deadline likely gains the inside track on this tight division race. | Brendan Kuty: The Yankees are making a big push for Brett Gardner to make the All-Star team by going bald (well, sort of).  Hilarious stuff.

Sporting News | Jesse Spector: While lots of teams are looking to acquire Johnny Cueto, the Yankees could make themselves especially attractive as a trade partner by agreeing to take on one of Cincinnati's big contracts - namely that of second baseman Brandon Phillips. | Brendan Kuty: Andy Ibanez, a Cuban infield prospect the Yankees were once quite high on, has signed with Texas for $1.6 million.

LoHud Yankees Blog | Chad Jennings: Alex Rodriguez is certainly disappointed at not making the All-Star team, but according to him, he's just happy to be in the conversation.  Isn't Rodriguez one of this season's best stories?

New York Post | Ken Davidoff: Joe Girardi's bullpen strategy is one of the main reasons the Yankees are as competitive as they've been in 2015.