And we now begin eight and a half months of freaking out about Sabathia’s opt-out clause

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More weighty news relating to CC Sabathia than his choice of breakfast cereals involves his contract. As in, the fact that he has the ability to opt-out of it after this year if he wants, and that has caused no shortage of consternation among Yankees fans. Yankees fans who, as of this past winter, are now acutely aware that, no, they can’t just sign every damn player they want.

So, as Sabathia hit Tampa today, and after the fun stuff about his weight was discussed, he was asked about his opt-out clause.  His comments: a statement that he has no intention of leaving the Yankees but that “anything is possible in a contract.”  He then added that he won’t be discussing it anymore because, you know, there’s work to be done.

I have no idea how else one could handle that. It would be the height of folly for Sabathia to verbally commit to any course of action right now. To do so risks him being characterized as a villain or a liar or a mercenary or whatever if he ends up leaving. Or it foolishly cuts off his negotiating leverage if he indeed plans to stay. Or — and I realize this is totally insane — he might not have any idea what’s going to happen this year and has no idea what he’s going to do about his opt-out. In light of that, it makes absolute perfect sense for Sabathia to be positive about staying in New York but ultimately non-committal.

But I have this feeling that — if Sabathia holds true to the smart course and declines to discuss this matter any further until next fall — the “anything is possible” quote will be cited umpteen times in the next several months as Meaning Something Terribly Important. And with it will be accompanied by the expected freaking out by the expected freak-outers.

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.