Masahiro Tanaka had a successful spring debut on Thursday night and the Yankees are hoping for something similar with CC Sabathia. According to Andrew Simon of MLB.com, the veteran southpaw has been cleared to make his Grapefruit League debut Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
This will be Sabathia’s first game action since last May 10. The 34-year-old southpaw was limited to just eight games last season due to a right knee injury which eventually required surgery, but he hasn’t had any issues this spring and made it through 29-pitch simulated game against Yankees minor leaguers on Thursday.
While Sabathia showed up to spring training last year noticeably slim at 275 pounds, he reported to camp this year at 305 pounds and believes it will be better for him. He’s dealing with a chronic knee condition and his velocity has been in decline for quite some time, so who knows if he can be anything close to the pitcher we have seen in the past, but the Yankees would probably be happy if he just gets back to eating innings in the middle of their rotation.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.