Giants “pretty optimistic” Pablo Sandoval will be ready for Monday’s season-opener

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Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval has been experiencing discomfort in his right elbow for over two weeks and felt renewed pain Friday after making a pair of plate appearances in a Cactus League game. But he still hasn’t been ruled out for Opening Day.

“It’s going to go down to the wire,” manager Bruce Bochy told Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News on Saturday. “It won’t be an easy call, but we’re pretty optimistic that he’s going to make it.”

“I’m feeling better,” added Sandoval when asked about the elbow. “If I’m allowed to, I’m going to be there.” If the Giants decide to play it safe, Joaquin Arias will probably get the fill-in start at the hot corner.

Sandoval, 26, batted .283/.342/.447 with 12 home runs and 63 RBI over 108 games last summer for the eventual World Series champions. He appeared in 117 games with the Giants in 2011.

San Francisco opens its regular-season schedule Monday afternoon against the Dodgers.

CC Sabathia wants to return to the Yankees in 2018

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CC Sabathia‘s contract is set to expire this offseason, but for the long-tenured left-hander, nowhere feels more like home than New York. “I want to see this through,” Sabathia told reporters after a devastating Game 7 loss in the ALCS. “This is where I want to play.” Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman spoke warmly of the veteran starter, but would make no public guarantees that he’d return to the team next spring.

Sabathia, 37, just topped off his 17th season in the big leagues and his eighth career postseason run. He went 14-5 in 27 starts and put up a 3.69 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 148 2/3 innings, good for 1.9 fWAR. He looked solid in the playoffs, too, propelling the team to a much-needed win in Game 5 of the ALDS and returning in the Championship Series with six scoreless innings in Game 3. His season ended on a sour note during Game 7, however. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings against a dynamic Astros’ offense, allowing one run on five hits and three walks and failing to record a single strikeout for the first time in 23 career postseason appearances.

Heading into the 2017 offseason, Sabathia finally arrived at the end of his seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees. While he’s repeatedly expressed a desire to keep pitching, despite rumors that his career might be on the rocks following the diagnosis of a troublesome degenerative knee condition, the decision isn’t his alone to make. Brian Cashman will also be seeking an extension with the Yankees this winter, so it’s difficult to say which impending free agents the club will try to retain — and Sabathia’s name isn’t the only one on that list. If it were up to skipper Joe Girardi, who is awaiting a decision on his own future with the organization, the decision would be a no-brainer. From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

CC will always be special to me because of what he stands for and the great player that he is, the great man that he is,” Girardi said. “The wonderful teammate that he is. How he pulls a team together. He’s as good as I’ve ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you’re on a losing streak or that you can count on, and knowing that it could be the possible last time.