White Sox, Jeff Samardzija agree on $9.8 million salary, avoiding arbitration

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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the White Sox and starter Jeff Samardzija have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $9.8 million salary for the 2015 season. Samardzija was entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.

The White Sox acquired Samardzija along with minor leaguer Michael Ynoa in a trade with the Athletics in December. They sent Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley, Chris Bassitt, and Rangel Ravelo to Oakland in return.

Samardzija, 30 on January 29, finished the 2014 season with a combined 2.99 ERA between the Cubs and Athletics along with a 202/43 K/BB ratio in 219 2/3 innings. The right-hander is one of several big off-season additions by the White Sox, joining outfielder Melky Cabrera, closer David Robertson and reliever Zach Duke, and DH Adam LaRoche.

Yankees keep ALCS hopes alive with 4-1 win over Astros

Gio Urshela
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The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.

In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.

Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).

Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.

With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.