UPDATE: Carlos Beltran is done for the day. He went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts over five innings. According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, he had two chances in right field and “never had to run full throttle.”
The results really don’t matter, but we’ll just have to hear how the knee feels.
For what it’s worth, Beltran told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York following the game that the plan is for him to play five innings in a minor league game Sunday, then take Monday off and play seven innings in a Grapefruit League game Tuesday.
8:47 AM: Part of his last-ditch effort to get ready for Opening Day, Carlos Beltran is set to play five innings in a minor league game this afternoon.
The big news here is that Beltran will play right field for the first time in a competitive game this spring. He’s had little time to adjust to his new position due to a recent bout of tendinitis in his left knee.
Beltran played in a simulated game Thursday and in a minor league intersquad game yesterday, but Mets manager Terry Collins told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger that they still need to be cautious.
“Even though he’s feeling great,” Collins said, “it’s a big step forward for us to get him out there, to get him playing. We’re going to watch it.”
Barring any setbacks, the hope is that Beltran can play the final three games of the Grapefruit League schedule, beginning Monday. While it’s an aggressive timetable, it’s pretty much the only way he’ll be ready for Opening Day. Many still expect him to begin the season on the disabled list.
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.