While the Yankees are likely to have CC Sabathia available out of the pen for Thursday’s ALDS Game 5, the Tigers ruled out using Justin Verlander.
Both aces started Monday, so an appearance Thursday would come on just two days’ rest.
Doug Fister and Ivan Nova are the scheduled starters for Game 5.
Verlander threw 120 pitches over eight innings in winning Game 3 against the Yankees. Sabathia threw 106 pitches in 5 1/3 innings and took a no-decision. Both pitchers gave up four runs.
Neither Verlander nor Sabathia has ever made a relief appearance in the majors. Verlander has made 199 regular-season starts and six in the postseason, while Sabathia has made 355 in the regular season and 15 in the postseason.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.