UPDATE: Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger reports that Sabathia will be placed on the disabled list.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Carig that Sabathia initially felt stiffness in the elbow in his first start back from a groin injury on July 17, but an MRI came back clean. The stiffness went away, but he felt something in the elbow again after his last start on Tuesday.
The move is retroactive to Thursday, so he’ll be eligible to return on August 23. Girardi continues to say that his level of concern is “pretty low,” so it appears the Yankees are just playing things safe here. Still, it’s tough not to be concerned if you’re a Bombers fan.
1:03 PM: Here’s a potentially troubling development for the first-place Yankees.
According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, CC Sabathia could miss his next start after experiencing some minor soreness in his left elbow in recent days.
Sabathia threw his regular bullpen session on Friday, but he could be scratched from Monday’s scheduled start against the Rangers if symptoms persist.
“Right now, it’s a low-level concern,” the source said. “Long-term, it’s not a big concern.”
Sabathia gave up five runs (three earned) over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday against the Tigers and holds a 3.56 ERA through 20 starts this season. No pitcher has thrown more innings than Sabathia since the start of the 2003 season. Only Mark Buehrle has logged more innings since Sabathia made his major league debut in 2001. The Yankees are downplaying the situation right now, but you can bet they are hoping the miles on his arm aren’t catching up with him.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.
The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.
St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.
The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.
Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?
Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.