The Yankees have given CC Sabathia a little breathing room. Ichiro Suzuki doubled home Derek Jeter in the bottom of the sixth inning to stretch the Yankees’ lead to 2-0.
Jeter drew a one-out walk and scored all the way from first base after Suzuki put one into the right-center field gap. Robinson Cano struck out looking and Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked before Troy Patton replaced Jason Hammel to get Raul Ibanez to striking out swinging for the final out of the inning.
Of course, there’s a compelling case to be made that the Orioles should already be on the board. Nate McLouth hit a long fly ball along the right field line in the top of the sixth inning that landed very close to the foul pole. It was ruled foul on the field, but the play was reviewed after Buck Showalter went out to argue. However, the umpires quickly emerged to confirm the original call. It’s possible that the ball could have nicked the foul pole — and in fact, one usher told Craig Sager of TBS that it did indeed hit the pole — but there’s no definitive evidence yet. On a side note, that usher could be looking for a new job soon.
And so, it’s 2-0 Yankees as we move to the top of the seventh.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.