CC Sabathia
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Yankees activate CC Sabathia from injured list

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The Yankees have activated left-hander CC Sabathia from the 10-day injured list, per a team announcement on Saturday. He’s scheduled to make his first start of the season against the White Sox later this afternoon.

At long last, Sabathia is poised to begin the final season of his multi-decade career in the majors. The 38-year-old southpaw was absent for the team’s first 13 games in 2019 after serving an initial five-game suspension, which he incurred at the tail end of his 2018 campaign when he intentionally struck Rays catcher Jesús Sucre with a pitch to his thigh. He missed additional time on the mound due to his ongoing recovery from a knee surgery and angioplasty, both of which he underwent over the course of the offseason.

While it’s still unclear what kind of results the club can expect from the oft-injured Sabathia in 2019, the veteran pitcher is coming off of a decent run. He worked up to a 9-7 record with a 3.65 ERA, 3.0 BB/9, 8.2 SO/9, and 2.4 fWAR across 153 innings in 2018. Whether or not he can replicate those numbers (or improve on them) is another question, but he should help stabilize a rotation that’s currently waiting on Luis Severino to return from a Grade 2 lat strain, with Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, J.A. Happ, and swingman Domingo Germán fleshing out the rest of the group.

In a corresponding move, lefty reliever Stephen Tarpley was optioned to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre to clear a spot on the 25-man roster. Tarpley, 26, appeared in just four games for the Yankees this spring, allowing two runs, two walks, and striking out three of 14 batters faced.

Justin Verlander laughed at after saying Astros were “technologically and analytically advanced”

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Justin Verlander was at the annual Baseball Writers Association of America banquet last night, on hand to accept the 2019 Cy Young Award. Normally such things are pretty routine events, but nothing is routine with the Houston Astros these days.

During his acceptance speech, Verlander made some comments about the Astros’ “technological and analytical advancements.” The comments were greeted by some laughter in the room as well as some groans. At least one person on hand claimed that other players present were visibly angry.

It’s hard to tell the context of it all without a full video — maybe Verlander meant it as a joke, maybe the reactions were more varied than is being described — but here’s how reporters on hand for it last night are describing it:

If it was a joke it was ill-timed, as not many around the game think the sign-stealing stuff is funny at the moment. Especially in light of the fact that, despite having several opportunities to do so, Astros players have failed to show any accountability for their cheating.

And yes, that includes former Astros Dallas Keuchel, who was praised for “apologizing” at a White Sox fan event on Friday, but whose “apology” was couched in a lot of deflection and excuse-making about how it was just something that was done at the time and about how technology was to blame. Keuchel also tried to minimize it, saying that the Astros didn’t do it all the time. Which is rich given that the most prominent video evidence of their trash can-banging scheme came from a blowout Astros win in a meaningless August game against a losing team. If they were doing it in that situation, please, do not tell me they weren’t doing it when games really mattered.

Anyway, I’d like to think Verlander was just trying to take a stab at a joke here, because Verlander is the wrong guy to be sending to be sending any kind of messages diminishing the cheating given that he has a pretty solid track record of holding other players’ feet to the fire when they get busted.

For example, here he was in 2018 after Robinson Canó got busted for PEDs:

Of course, consistency can be a problem for Verlander when his teammates are on the ones who are on the hook. Here was his response to Tigers infielder Jhonny Peralta being suspended in the wake of the Biogenesis scandal:

“Everybody makes mistakes. He’s my brother. We fight and bleed and sweat together on the baseball field. If my brother makes a mistake, especially if he owns up to it and serves his time, I don’t see how you can hold a grudge or anything like that. “It’s one thing to step up and be a man and own up to his mistake.”

Verlander, it should also be noted, was very outspoken about teams engaging in advanced sign-stealing schemes once upon a time. here he was in 2017, while still with the Tigers, talking about such things in a June 2017 interview with MLive.com.

“We don’t have somebody, but I’m sure teams have a person that can break down signals and codes and they’ll have the signs before you even get out there on the mound.  It’s not about gamesmanship anymore. It used to be, ‘Hey, if you can get my signs, good for you.’ In the past, if a guy on second (base) was able to decipher it on a few pitches, I guess that was kind of part of the game. I think it’s a different level now. It’s not good.”

Which makes me wonder how he felt when he landed on the Astros two months later and realized they had a sophisticated cheating operation underway. If the feelings were mixed, he was able to bury the part of them which had a problem with it, because he’s said jack about it since this all blew up in November. And, of course, has happily accepted the accolades and the hardware he he has received since joining Houston, some of which was no doubt acquired by virtue of a little extra, ill-gotten run support.

Anyway, wake me up when someone — anyone — associated with the Astros shows some genuine accountability about this.