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.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.