If New York Yankees starter Phil Hughes needs any help getting through Game 6 against the Texas Rangers on Friday night, CC Sabathia will be there to back him up.
Sabathia, who threw 112 pitches in six innings to help the Yankees to a 7-2 victory on Wednesday in Game 5, says he will be available to pitch in relief on Friday.
Sabathia would normally have thrown a between-starts bullpen session on Friday, but he will rest up instead to be ready for bullpen duty, according to Ed Price of Fanhouse.
“I can probably throw 45 pitches (or) 50 tomorrow,” Sabathia said.
Other than two All-Star Games, Sabathia has never pitched in relief as a professional: minors, majors or postseason.
“Let’s see how he feels tomorrow,” manager Joe Girardi said, “but our plan is that he will be available for us.”
Sabathia has made two starts in the series, allowing five runs in only four innings in Game 1, which the Yankees nonetheless won. The last pitcher to make two starts and a relief appearance in a best-of-seven series, according to Price, was Pedro Martinez for the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS.
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CC Sabathia‘s contract with the Yankees expires after the 2017 season but the lefty feels that he has enough left in the tank to pitch in 2018 and beyond, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports.
Sabathia said, “I just know myself. I know I feel like it’s not my time yet. Barring any crazy injuries I know I can pitch past next year. I feel like this is just the beginning of what I’m trying to do. I feel like there’s a lot more still to learn and a lot better to get. It’s exciting.”
The 36-year-old lefty currently holds a 4.02 ERA and a 144/63 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings. It’s his best and healthiest season since 2012. He battled a knee injury last season and checked into rehab for alcohol addiction last October. Sabathia said that being treated for his addiction put him “in a good spot.”
Sabathia is owed $25 million through a vesting option for the 2017 season.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.