Rockies making “aggressive push” for Michael Cuddyer

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Colorado’s interest in Michael Cuddyer has been well known all offseason and now they’re stepping up their pursuit of the free agent outfielder, with Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that the Rockies are making an “aggressive push.”

Cuddyer is said to have a three-year offer on the table from Minnesota worth around $25 million and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Twins were willing to go at least a little higher.

Whether or not that would be a sound decision by the Twins is another issue, of course, because if they were to let Cuddyer walk and sign Josh Willingham to replace him as a right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup Minnesota would gain two first-round picks in the switch. And might end up with the better player, too.

Because of changes in the collective bargaining agreement the Rockies wouldn’t lose a draft pick for signing Cuddyer, who’s spent his entire professional career with the Twins and hit .284 with 20 homers and an .805 OPS in 139 games this year at age 32.

Joe Girardi won’t use Masahiro Tanaka in Game 7

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The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.

Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.

Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.

Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.