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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 10/11/19

Yankees to face Astros in the ALCS; Hicks back in the roster conversation; Chapman the gold standard among remaining closers; Yankee defense a positive standout

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MLB: ALDS-Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

USA Today | Bob Nightengale: It’s official, even if it took longer than we thought. The Houston Astros are advancing to the ALCS, where the Yankees will have a shot at revenge for their last postseason meeting in 2017. Home field will still belong to the Astros, but thanks to the Rays forcing a Game Five the pitching matchups could wind up more favorable for New York, with Gerrit Cole likely not starting until the series shifts to the Bronx. | Brendan Kuty: Aaron Hicks was one of the few injured holdouts still not ready to go after the regular season ended. Hicks’ injury has held him out since early August and prompted discussion of season-ending surgery, but the outfielder has worked his way back after a second opinion dissuaded him from going under the knife. Now Hicks is an option for the Yankees, and Brian Cashman will have a call to make on whether they add him onto the roster for the ALCS, and if they do who goes down for him.

NY Post | Joel Sherman: The postseason is the trickiest time of the year for managers to deal with their bullpen. Several well-established relievers have been questionably used over the years, and that was on display again in the Dodgers Game Five elimination. Manager Dave Roberts elected not to go to closer Kenley Jansen until the team was suddenly down four in extra innings, where he played the role of mop up. The Yankees have been unique among several contenders this postseason not just in the strength of their ‘pen but their locked in closer Aroldis Chapman, who has been one of the game’s few elite closers to retain the role over several years. Chapman and Jansen both signed big free-agent deals a few years back, but it looks like Chapman has positioned himself for another payday.

ESPN | AP: The Yankee defense made its presence felt in the ALDS against the Twins. Several standouts, from Aaron Judge in right field, to Gleyber Torres at second, to Didi Gregorius at shortstop have made highlight plays that prevented the opposing offense from getting going. Overall the Yankee fielders turned around a -1.9 defensive runs below average from last year and made it a positive at 1.7 above average.