CC Sabathia made his spring debut yesterday against the Marlins and it went about as well as the Yankees could have hoped for. In his first game action since October surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow, Sabathia allowed two runs over five innings while walking one and striking out a pair.
Sabathia was touched up for two runs on three hits and a walk in the first inning, but he kept the Marlins off the board the rest of the way. He was clocked around 90 mph, down a little bit from his usual velocity, but the veteran southpaw told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he is satisfied with where he is at this point of the spring. Of course, the most important thing is that his elbow wasn’t an issue.
“I started letting it go early and didn’t have any problems. I felt good,” Sabathia said. “I’ll just keep building in the bullpen, make sure my fastball command gets better and just go from there.”
Sabathia is projected to make two more Grapefruit League starts leading up to his Opening Day assignment against the Red Sox on April 1.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.