Link-O-Rama: Maddon fills out his All-Star staff

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* Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and Royals manager Trey Hillman have been named to Joe Maddon’s bench for the All-Star game, but I’m more interested in this note
about the rest of his staff: “Toronto Blue Jays head trainer George
Poulis and Oakland Athletics head athletic trainer Steve Sayles will
round out the AL staff.”

You’d be hard-pressed to find two trainers who’ve presided over more
significant injuries recently than Poulis and Sayles. Apparently Mark
Prior’s personal trainer and Jack Kevorkian weren’t available.

* Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has a lengthy update
on Eric Gagne’s comeback attempt, which currently involves starting
games for the Quebec Capitales of the Canadian-American League. Gagne
allowed five runs on nine hits and four walks over 4.2 innings in his
first outing last week.

* Matt Kemp delivered a walk-off single
last night and is now hitting .315/.381/.492 for an .873 OPS that ranks
third on the Dodgers behind only Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake … yet
he’s batted seventh or lower in the lineup for three-fourths of his
starts.

* Yesterday the Pirates became the latest–and perhaps last–team to realize the dangers of catching fly balls at the Metrodome.

CC Sabathia wants to return to the Yankees in 2018

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CC Sabathia‘s contract is set to expire this offseason, but for the long-tenured left-hander, nowhere feels more like home than New York. “I want to see this through,” Sabathia told reporters after a devastating Game 7 loss in the ALCS. “This is where I want to play.” Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman spoke warmly of the veteran starter, but would make no public guarantees that he’d return to the team next spring.

Sabathia, 37, just topped off his 17th season in the big leagues and his eighth career postseason run. He went 14-5 in 27 starts and put up a 3.69 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 148 2/3 innings, good for 1.9 fWAR. He looked solid in the playoffs, too, propelling the team to a much-needed win in Game 5 of the ALDS and returning in the Championship Series with six scoreless innings in Game 3. His season ended on a sour note during Game 7, however. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings against a dynamic Astros’ offense, allowing one run on five hits and three walks and failing to record a single strikeout for the first time in 23 career postseason appearances.

Heading into the 2017 offseason, Sabathia finally arrived at the end of his seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees. While he’s repeatedly expressed a desire to keep pitching, despite rumors that his career might be on the rocks following the diagnosis of a troublesome degenerative knee condition, the decision isn’t his alone to make. Brian Cashman will also be seeking an extension with the Yankees this winter, so it’s difficult to say which impending free agents the club will try to retain — and Sabathia’s name isn’t the only one on that list. If it were up to skipper Joe Girardi, who is awaiting a decision on his own future with the organization, the decision would be a no-brainer. From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

CC will always be special to me because of what he stands for and the great player that he is, the great man that he is,” Girardi said. “The wonderful teammate that he is. How he pulls a team together. He’s as good as I’ve ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you’re on a losing streak or that you can count on, and knowing that it could be the possible last time.