Masahiro Tanaka had a successful spring debut on Thursday night and the Yankees are hoping for something similar with CC Sabathia. According to Andrew Simon of MLB.com, the veteran southpaw has been cleared to make his Grapefruit League debut Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
This will be Sabathia’s first game action since last May 10. The 34-year-old southpaw was limited to just eight games last season due to a right knee injury which eventually required surgery, but he hasn’t had any issues this spring and made it through 29-pitch simulated game against Yankees minor leaguers on Thursday.
While Sabathia showed up to spring training last year noticeably slim at 275 pounds, he reported to camp this year at 305 pounds and believes it will be better for him. He’s dealing with a chronic knee condition and his velocity has been in decline for quite some time, so who knows if he can be anything close to the pitcher we have seen in the past, but the Yankees would probably be happy if he just gets back to eating innings in the middle of their rotation.
Cubs prospect third baseman Kris Bryant has been getting most of the attention this spring for his impressive power exploits, but as you’ll see below, Rangers prospect third baseman Joey Gallo is also capable of hitting baseballs very, very far. Here’s a three-run shot to right off Giants right-hander Jake Peavy yesterday:
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, the 21-year-old Gallo hit 41 homers with a 1.009 OPS last season between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco. Baseball America recently ranked him as the No. 6 prospect in the game. Strikeouts are an issue for him, but new Rangers manager Jeff Banister put it best yesterday (via Richard Justice of MLB.com):
“This cat here, he touches the ball, he’s going to do some damage.”
Cubs fans got a sneak preview at the future on Tuesday when Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant hit back-to-back-to-back home runs. Well, Bryant went mashing again today against the Angels by going 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double. By the way, the first home run went over the head of Will Ferrell, who was playing center field at the time.
Here’s home run No. 1…
And home run No. 2…
Bryant led the minors with 43 home runs last season while posting a 1.098 OPS and now he has four homers this spring. You can obviously make the case that the 23-year-old deserves to be with the Cubs on Opening Day from a talent perspective, but the expectation is that he’ll head down to the minors for a couple of weeks to delay his free agency by a year. Unfortunately, that’s the system we have right now.
Interesting update this evening from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, who hears that the Dodgers recently requested a second MRI on the elbow of free agent Cuban infielder Hector Olivera. It’s believed that the request was initially declined.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported a week ago that Olivera could have ulnar collateral ligament damage in his elbow and might require Tommy John surgery. That report was denied by Olivera’s camp, but the 29-year-old has since hired Greg Genske of Legacy Agency to represent him and questions obviously remain about his health.
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported earlier today that the Marlins backed off a seven-year, $53 million offer for Olivera after hearing that the Dodgers offered $77 million, but he also noted that those offers were made to his old agent. One would think that he would already be with the Dodgers if that lucrative offer was legitimate, so it’s hard to know what to believe here. Still, Heyman was told by one GM that $70-plus million for Olivera wouldn’t be crazy “if he’s healthy.”
The two sides reached an agreement late last month, but the Red Sox just officially announced that they have signed Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada to a minor league contract. The team will hold an introductory press conference tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. ET, per FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.
The Red Sox will reportedly give Moncada a bonus of $31.5 million, which smashes the previous record for an international amateur under the current system. The Diamondbacks briefly held that distinction when they gave $8.27 million to right-hander Yoan Lopez in January. The Red Sox will also have to pay a 100-percent tax for exceeding their international bonus pool, so the total outlay for signing him will be $63 million. They have until July 15 to pay the tax and up to three years to pay the bonus.
It’s a big price to pay for a 19-year-old, but Moncada drew raves from scouts and Ben Badler of Baseball America recently ranked him as the No. 10 prospect in the game. He’s expected to find a home at second base, third base, or the outfield in pro ball and some believe he could make his way to the majors as soon as next season.