According to Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com, Yoenis Cespedes will begin a minor league rehab assignment this evening with Triple-A Sacramento. The Cuban outfielder hasn’t played since April 12 due to a strained muscle in his left hand, but he was cleared for game action after he through batting practice earlier this week with no issues.
Cespedes’ rehab assignment doesn’t figure to be a lengthy one. He’s eligible to return for Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles and there’s a good chance he’ll be ready by then as long as he can avoid a setback.
Cespedes was batting .200 (8-for-40) with three home runs and seven RBI in 11 games prior to the injury. The Athletics are off to a 13-9 start this season, but they have lost seven out of 12 games without him.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.