Pirates drop Jonathan Sanchez and his 11.85 ERA

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Pittsburgh handed Jonathan Sanchez an Opening Day rotation spot despite his being the worst pitcher in baseball last season and predictably after four terrible starts they’ve mercifully decided to designate him for assignment.

Sanchez managed to allow 18 runs in 13.2 innings, get demoted to the bullpen, and draw a six-game suspension for throwing at Allen Craig’s head, so it was a very memorable month.

Dating back to the beginning of last season Sanchez is 1-12 with an 8.73 ERA and more walks (61) than strikeouts (60) in 78 innings while allowing opponents to hit .330 with a 1.057 OPS. He’s still just 29 years old and not that far removed from being a solid mid-rotation starter with a good strikeout rate for the Giants, but that’s about as bad as pitching gets.

Yankees set to activate Giancarlo Stanton on Tuesday

Giancarlo Stanton
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Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is set to return from the injured list on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Sunday. The timing coincides well with the addition of Edwin Encarnación, who was acquired from the Mariners on Saturday evening and is expected to be active and available for the Yankees as soon as Monday night.

The Yankees have every reason to hope that Stanton will be able to return to his usual 30+ homer, 4.0+ fWAR self as he works his way back to a full-time role this season. (Fueling some of that hope: Four home runs in 10 PA at High-A Tampa during his latest stretch of rehab games.) Undoubtedly, they’re still prepared to play it safe with the 29-year-old, who has already suffered significant shoulder, biceps, and calf injuries and has not appeared in a major-league game since March 31. Through the Yankees’ first three games of 2019, he went 2-for-15 with a pair of singles, seven walks, and four strikeouts.

With Encarnación slotting into a DH/first base role, Stanton is expected to spend the bulk of his playing time in the left field corner. That may cause a bit of a logjam in the outfield, as Brett Gardner took over that spot in Stanton’s absence and will likely be forced into a backup role once Aaron Judge returns from the IL — but for now, Boone says, he “still expects Gardy to play a lot.”