MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that Yankees starter CC Sabathia is holding a press conference on Saturday at Steinbrenner Field in Florida. The veteran lefty will officially announce he will retire following the 2019 season.
Sabathia, 38, re-signed with the Yankees on a one-year, $8 million contract in November. He’s coming off of a solid 2018 campaign in which he posted a 3.65 ERA with 140 strikeouts and 51 walks across 153 innings. Sabathia, in fact, has been solid over the last three years, posting a sub-4.00 ERA each year.
The Yankees made some additions to the rotation, bringing J.A. Happ back as a free agent and acquiring James Paxton from the Mariners. Those two and Sabathia will be joined by Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka. Barring injury, there aren’t any rotation spots available as spring training opens.
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.