Red Sox DH Hanley Ramirez has been battling a sore right shoulder and announced on Thursday that he is not participating in the World Baseball Classic. Mariners shortstop Jean Segura will replace him on the Dominican Republic roster, Jon Morosi reports.
The shoulder soreness affects Ramirez’s throwing ability, but reportedly does not bother him when he hits. The three-time All-Star hit .286/.361/.505 with 30 home runs and 111 RBI in 620 plate appearances for the Red Sox last year, starting 133 of 144 games at first base. With David Ortiz now out of the picture, Ramirez will serve as the full-time DH this year, assuming he’s healthy enough to do so.
Segura, 26, was acquired by the Mariners from the Diamondbacks back in November. He had a career year in 2016, batting .319/.368/.499 with 20 home runs, 64 RBI, 102 runs scored, and 33 stolen bases in 694 PA.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.