CC Sabathia done for regular season, Phil Hughes a maybe

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Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Thursday that CC Sabathia, who pitched effectively but failed to get his 20th victory Wednesday against the Rays, won’t get another start before the postseason.

With the first game of the ALDS falling nine days after Sabathia’s start Wednesday, there was no good way to have him pitch again during the regular season.  The current plan is for him to throw a simulated game Sunday, allowing him to work next Friday on something close to a normal schedule.

Girardi said today that Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova would start the three games against Boston this weekend.

As for Phil Hughes, he could get a start against the Rays next week.  He said Thursday that his back is improved after Wednesday’s epidural.  He’ll throw a bullpen this weekend and could start Tuesday or Wednesday.  His performance then will likely dictate whether he’s included on the ALDS roster.

Barring a change of heart from the Yankees, Sabathia will end the season 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 237 1/3 innings.  It’s the third time in his career that he’s won exactly 19 games.  His lone 20-win season came last year.  It’s his second-highest strikeout total behind his 2008 mark of 251 K’s for the Indians and Brewers.

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.

Brewers’ Julio Mendez remains hospitalized after hit by pitch

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Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.

Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.

Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.