CC Sabathia showed up to camp weighing 305 pounds

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CC Sabathia bucked spring tradition in which every player shows up to spring training and announces, “I’m in the best shape of my life.” The veteran left-hander came in at a robust 305 pounds, as ESPN’s Wallace Matthews reports.

Sabathia showed up 30 pounds lighter to spring training last year but felt he was “a little too light”. This spring, he’s 10 pounds heavier than normal. It could help stave off his declining fastball velocity, which fell below 89 MPH on average last season before he hit the disabled list with a right knee injury in May. Sabathia underwent knee surgery in July.

Now 34 years old, Sabathia has had a rough two years, owning a 4.87 ERA in 257 innings since the start of the 2013 season. Though Sabathia admitted he’ll likely never completely overcome his degenerative knee condition, he’ll try to be productive in the middle of the Yankees’ starting rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.