Yankees are focused on pitching, not Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder

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Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has had a busy week, signing CC Sabathia to a contract extension and inking a three-year deal of his own to stay in New York.

Today he held court with the media and indicated pretty strongly that the Yankees won’t be pursuing Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder as free agents because they’re still focusing on adding more pitching even after locking up Sabathia long term:

Offense is not a problem with this club. Our main focus and effort is going to be try to reinforce the pitching rotation and bullpen and depth and insurance policies we would have. It is pitching, pitching, pitching. That will be the main thrust of this stuff.

This morning there was a report about the Yankees being interested in re-signing Freddy Garcia, but C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle also figure to be on their radar. Yu Darvish could be too, although Cashman hinted that Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa might make him a little more hesitant than most teams to pursue the highly touted Japanese ace.

Nathan Eovaldi to make 2018 debut for Rays soon

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Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.

Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.

When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.

The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.