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.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.