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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/7/19

Didi returns, Estrada sent down; Judge resuming on-field batting practice; Morales relates to Keuchel/Kimbrel free agency; YES Network’s potential plans following buyback deal

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees
The man with the emojis is back and starting at shortstop for the New York Yankees
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | George A. King: The Yankees are getting a big return to the lineup, as Didi Gregorius is set to return against the Indians. Gregorius has made a quick recovery from Tommy John surgery, and the team sounds thrilled to have him back. That’s to be expected, given Gregorius contributions to club over the past few years, both in terms of on-field performance and what he brings to the clubhouse. In related news, infielder Thairo Estrada was optioned to make room for Gregorius.

ESPN: Aaron Judge is working his own way back to the lineup, but he’s not focused on a specific timeline yet. There was word that the team was hopeful Judge could return in time for the Yankees trip to London at the end of the month, but for now Judge is beginning to start batting again and will take things day-by-day.

New York Post | Ken Davidoff: Going back to Morales, he had some insight into another situation that the Yankees have been monitoring: the free agencies of Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. The pair became the second and third players to outlast the draft compensation on them after rejecting the qualifying offer in the offseason, with the first being Morales in 2014. Morales came out of the gate stumbling for the Twins that season, and ultimately got traded away more than a month into his tenure with his new team, a caution to the expectations that even good players can produce without a proper transition into a new season.

Speaking of those delayed starts, it looks like the Yankees won’t be a part of them this year. Kimbrel signed a three-year deal with the Cubs, and now Keuchel is off the market as he heads over to Atlanta.

New York Post | Andrew Marchand: The Yankees are also moving on the business front, planning improvements to the YES Network now that they are the majority shareholder in the station after a $3.5 billion deal with FOX. YES is working with SiriusXM to put the radio station on satellite, and could partner with Amazon to provide digital broadcasts through Prime in the future.