Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has a worrisome report about Michael Pineda’s velocity early in Yankees camp, writing that “scouts yesterday had Pineda at 88-91[miles per hour]” after he averaged 94.7 mph with his fastball last season.
He also quotes a scout as saying “and there was some effort to get to 91.” And then while noting it’s very early in spring training, Rosenthal adds that “scouts were taken aback, asking each other if readings were accurate.”
Now, in fairness to Pineda his diminished velocity in some early spring training action would probably have barely been noticed had he still be with the Mariners. On the other hand, Keith Law of ESPN.com says he scouted Pineda on March 7 of last season and clocked him at 93-96 mph, so it’s not just an “it’s early” thing.
On a related note, the Yankees have apparently been stressing to Pineda that he needs to work on improving his changeup and commit to throwing it more often, as they believe he needs a consistent third pitch to go with his mid-90s fastball and hard slider. Of course, if his velocity stays in the low-90s perfecting a third pitch will be the least of the Yankees’ concerns.
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.