CC Sabathia throws bullpen session, aims to return next Friday

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UPDATE: According to Jack Curry of YES Network, today’s bullpen session went off without a hitch. Sabathia is scheduled to throw another one Tuesday, but he was “emphatic” in saying he’ll return next Friday.

11:45 AM: CC Sabathia landed on the disabled list last week due to left elbow soreness, but he’s aiming to return as soon as he’s eligible next Friday against the Indians. He still has some hurdles to cross before being cleared to return, but the early signs are encouraging.

Sabathia threw off flat ground without incident for the second straight day yesterday. The big southpaw told WFAN’s Sweeney Murti that he’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session today for the first time since being placed on the disabled list. According to Steven Miller and Ethan Asofsky of MLB.com, Yankees manager Joe Girardi isn’t ready to commit to a specific date, but he expects him to return at some point next weekend.

“I haven’t really nailed down that that’s the date,” Girardi said. “We have to see how the bullpens go and how he feels. That way I have a little leeway for the second day or the third day [of the series against the Indians], whenever it is. Let’s just see how his bullpens go before I give an exact date.”

Sabathia, 32, is 12-3 with a 3.56 ERA and 140/35 K/BB ratio over 141 2/3 innings in 20 starts this season. He had a previous stint on the disabled list in late June due to a left groin strain.

Report: Phillies interested in Manny Machado; Orioles have done homework on Phillies’ minor league system

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.

The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.

Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.

As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.