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Steve Sarkisian was inspired by CC Sabathia to seek treatment for alcoholism

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Yankees starter CC Sabathia surprised the Yankees, who were preparing to face the Astros in the AL Wild Card game, two seasons ago when he abruptly left the team to seek treatment for alcoholism. In the time since, the lefty has been very open about his battle with addiction. He memorably did an interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. He also penned a column for The Players’ Tribune and did a ride-along video with VICE Sports.

New Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian says Sabathia’s interview with Van Pelt inspired him to seek help for his own battle with alcohol around the same time, ESPN’s Vaughn McClure reports. Sarkisian, then with USC, took an indefinite leave of absence in October 2015. He was fired from USC shortly thereafter, for which he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Here’s what Sarkisian said about Sabathia’s interview:

I was actually at home on a Sunday night and I was watching SportsCenter, and Scott Van Pelt was doing his editorial. That night was when CC Sabathia had decided to go to treatment before the Major League Baseball playoffs. I thought to myself, ‘Whoa, here’s somebody who is like me, who is in a very high-profile position in sports – ace pitcher of the New York Yankees — and was being relatively commended or almost celebrated for going to do what he did.’

I knew I needed to [go]. I didn’t know how to go about it. But that thing gave me a feeling of, ‘There’s a like person that is going to do this. I know I need to do it. Now how, what, when.’ So I made the decision to go do it. It’s been the best decision of my life.

Sarkisian is now in a treatment program and he says “it’s going great.”

Kudos to Sarkisian for seeking help, which must have been very difficult to do, and kudos to Sabathia for helping others by sharing the battles he faced with addiction.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.