Sabathia, Kittredge receive suspensions for throwing at batters

CC Sabathia
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Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia and Rays right-hander Andrew Kittredge have received official penalties from MLB for intentionally throwing at batters during Thursday’s game. Sabathia was issued a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine, while Kittredge was handed a three-game suspension. Both pitchers are expected to begin serving their suspensions at the start of the 2019 season.

The incidents in question were triggered by a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Sabathia struck Jake Bauers on the hand with a first-pitch 87.6-MPH sinker. In the next inning, Kittredge retaliated by aiming at Austin Romine‘s head, and while the rookie catcher managed to dodge the pitch, it was enough to provoke a heated reaction from Sabathia.

With warnings in place, the veteran lefty waited until Rays’ catcher Jesus Sucre stepped up to bat, then promptly delivered a 95.2-MPH that ricocheted off of Sucre’s leg. Both Sabathia and Yankees manager Aaron Boone were tossed in the aftermath of the exchange, which came with hefty consequences for the starter: In addition to the fine that was later imposed, he forfeited his right to another $500,000 after leaving his final start with 153 innings under his belt, just two shy of the 155-inning threshold he needed to receive another half-million salary bump.

Per Saturday’s press release, Sabathia has decided to appeal the suspension, while Kittredge has not yet announced his decision to appeal.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.