Justin Verlander unavailable, CC Sabathia a possibility for Game 5

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While the Yankees are likely to have CC Sabathia available out of the pen for Thursday’s ALDS Game 5, the Tigers ruled out using Justin Verlander.

Both aces started Monday, so an appearance Thursday would come on just two days’ rest.

Doug Fister and Ivan Nova are the scheduled starters for Game 5.

Verlander threw 120 pitches over eight innings in winning Game 3 against the Yankees. Sabathia threw 106 pitches in 5 1/3 innings and took a no-decision. Both pitchers gave up four runs.

Neither Verlander nor Sabathia has ever made a relief appearance in the majors. Verlander has made 199 regular-season starts and six in the postseason, while Sabathia has made 355 in the regular season and 15 in the postseason.

Eric Thames exits game with right knee soreness

Eric Thames
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Brewers outfielder Eric Thames made an early exit from Friday’s game against the Cardinals after colliding with Lorenzo Cain on an outfield catch in the first inning. According to an official report, he has been diagnosed with right knee soreness and is presumably day-to-day for the time being.

It was a brutal collision knocked both outfielders flat on their backs, but they were able to resume their positions and stick it out for the rest of the inning. Thames was up in the second, too, and struck out on five pitches from St. Louis right-hander Jack Flaherty before making an eventual exit in the top of the third. He was replaced on the field and in the lineup by Hernan Perez.

Entering Friday’s contest, the 31-year-old Thames carried a .230/.308/.516 batting line, 16 home runs and an .824 OPS in his second full season with the Brewers. He hasn’t replicated the career-high .247-average, 31-homer, 2.1-fWAR totals of his breakout performance in 2017, though that’s likely due to a combination of decreased playing time and lengthy recovery periods mandated by several significant injuries, including a torn UCL in his left thumb and a right hamstring strain. There’s no word yet on when he might return to the lineup this season.