Saito garners interest from eight teams

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Thumbnail image for takashi saito.jpgEight teams, including the White Sox, Cubs, Braves and Mets, have interest in free agent Takashi Saito, according to a Sponichi report passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.



Saito, who turns 40 in February,
posted a 2.42 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 52/25 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings
with the Red Sox in 2009. He signed an incentive-laden contract last
January coming back from a torn elbow ligament (without undergoing
surgery), but the Red Sox declined his $6 million option by releasing
him last month.




While he’s still a fine reliever,
capable of eighth or ninth-inning duties, Saito’s peripherals have been
headed in the wrong direction since his debut in 2006:




2006: 12.9 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, 0.34 HR/9

2007: 10.91 K/9, 1.82 BB/9, 0.70 HR/9

2008: 11.49 K/9, 3.06 BB/9, 0.19 HR/9

2009: 8.41 K/9, 4.04 BB/9, 0.97 HR/9



There’s no shortage of younger late-inning
relievers available this winter, so while the early interest is strong, the veteran right-hander is wading
into some uncertain waters.

Yankees star Aaron Judge headed to injured list for 2nd time this season

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Aaron Judge is headed to the injured list for the second time this season after the New York Yankees star hurt his right toe making a spectacular catch at Dodger Stadium.

The reigning AL MVP missed his second consecutive game. He met with team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and underwent testing that showed a bruise and a sprained ligament, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said following his team’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Boone said Judge will be placed on the IL but did not give a timeline for his return. The slugger received a platelet-rich plasma injection.

“The biggest thing now is trying to get the swelling out of there,” Boone said. “Had some improvements today, but now just see where we are in the coming weeks, or days and then a week.”

Boone said Judge’s toe is not fractured.

“I think it definitely could have been worse,” the manager said. “Hopefully it’s on the shorter side of things.”

Judge banged his right toe while making a running catch and crashing into the outfield fence during the eighth inning of a 6-3 win over the Dodgers. He sat out the 4-1 victory.

The right fielder knocked open the door of the visitors’ bullpen while making the grab on J.D. Martinez’s liner into the corner with Max Muncy on first base and nobody out.

Judge, who set an AL record with 62 home runs last year, is headed to the injured list for the eighth time since making his major league debut on Aug. 13, 2016. The 31-year-old missed 10 games this season with a strained right hip after getting injured on a headfirst slide attempting to steal third at Minnesota on April 26.

The Yankees went 4-6 while Judge was on the IL. Since returning from the hip injury, he is batting .326 with 13 of his AL-best 19 homers.

“You can’t replace that guy,” New York third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “From a leadership standpoint, from a playing standpoint. We’re just really going to have to come together as a team and grind out at-bats, play good defense, throw the ball well and hopefully keep winning ballgames until he’s back.”

New York is 30-19 with Judge in the lineup, averaging five runs per game. The Yankees are 6-7 without him, averaging 3.5 runs. He was appointed team captain after staying with the Yankees last offseason and signing a nine-year, $360 million contract as a free agent.

“I don’t like when he’s not in the lineup and it’s hurting him enough for him not to be in there,” Boone said. “It seems like he’s progressed here over the last 24 hours from a swelling standpoint, which I think is an important factor of it all is getting that swelling out of there and kind of having a better idea of what you have. So we’ll see.”

Judge did not go on the IL in either of the past two seasons. He appeared in 155 games in 2022 when he broke Roger Maris’ AL record of 61 homers set in 1961. He played 148 games in 2021.

The Yankees also said they will place left-hander Nestor Cortes on the injured list with a shoulder strain. Cortes is expected to miss at least two starts. Rookie right-hander Randy Vásquez will pitch in his place.

“Just shoulder strain is what I got,” Cortes said. “I talked to the doctors today, I got the shot. It was 15 days no throw. Hopefully it’s a little sooner, but we’re counting out 15 days.”

Cortes said the shoulder has been bothering him between starts and more so after he pitched five innings May 30 in Seattle.

“I took two days off and when I got to LA and threw that first day, I didn’t feel right. But it was first day coming back from pitching so I knew it was going to be nagging a little bit,” Cortes said. “So I waited a little bit.

“That second day in LA was when I said something because it felt like I had pitched yesterday. So I wasn’t recovering in time. I didn’t want to come in today at 3 o’clock and tell them I was hurting. I think it was the right move for me and the team.”

Cortes is 5-2 with a 5.16 ERA in 11 starts and has particularly struggled later in outings. Opponents are hitting .447 when facing him for the third time in a game.

Last year, Cortes was an All-Star and went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts.

The Yankees also said reliever Ryan Weber has a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and is deciding whether to get surgery. The right-hander was injured Friday when he pitched two innings in Los Angeles. He is 1-0 with a 3.14 ERA in eight appearances this year.