Sa­bathia could return to Yanks’ ros­ter

Sa­bathia’s shoul­der healing, could be on Yanks’ ALCS ros­ter

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jake Seiner AP Sports Writer

CC Sa­bathia could be on the ros­ter for the ALCS af­ter miss­ing the pre­vi­ous round with an achy left shoul­der.

CC Sa­bathia could be on the New York Yan­kees’ ros­ter for the AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries af­ter miss­ing the pre­vi­ous round with an achy left shoul­der.

The left-handed Sa­bathia sat out New York’s three-game sweep of the Min­nesota Twins in the AL Divi­sion Se­ries, but man­ager Aaron Boone said the 39-year-old is feel­ing “con­sid­er­ably bet­ter” af­ter throw­ing a bullpen ses­sion Wed­nes­day.

“Frankly, looked re­ally good,” Boone said. “I was re­ally ex­cited about how he looked.”

Out­fielder Aaron Hicks has also re­cov­ered from a right el­bow flexor strain and is an op­tion for the ros­ter, and re­liev­ers Aroldis Chap­man and Zack Brit­ton are fine af­ter suf­fer­ing mi­nor in­juries Mon­day night, Boone said. New York will open the ALCS on Satur­day against ei­ther Hous­ton or Tampa Bay, which are set to play a win­ner-take-all Game 5 on Thurs­day night.

Sa­bathia, a 19-year vet­eran who plans to re­tire af­ter the post­sea­son, spent the fi­nal week of the reg­u­lar season pre­par­ing to pitch in re­lief for the AL East cham­pi­ons be­fore his shoul­der flared and kept him off the ALDS ros­ter. Boone said Sa­bathia is an op­tion for the ALCS, but the Yan­kees haven’t de­cided on their bullpen. If Sa­bathia is ac­tive, he’ll pitch in re­lief ei­ther as a lefty spe­cial­ist or to face three or four hit­ters.

Sa­bathia was 5-8 with a 4.95 ERA in the reg­u­lar season, notch­ing his 3,000th ca­reer strike­out and 250th win. Boone wanted to gauge how Sa­bathia felt Thurs­day be­fore mak

ing a de­ci­sion.

“I think that’s the big­gest thing: How is he go­ing to be able to re­cover?” Boone said. “Do we think he can pitch in a game and le­git­i­mately bounce back and be an op­tion the next day if he were to face a hit­ter or some­thing like that?”

Hicks joined the team at Yan­kee Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day af­ter work­ing out at the club’s fa­cil­ity in

Tampa, Florida, dur­ing the ALDS. New York hoped to watch him play sim­u­lated games in the Bronx, but rain forced play­ers to stay inside. He faced live pitch­ing in the cage and did other work.

Hicks told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Tues­day that he is healthy enough to play. Boone agrees, but the man­ager said there is “trep­i­da­tion” about ac­ti­vat­ing him be­cause he hasn’t ap­peared in a game since Aug. 3.

“Ob­vi­ously hasn’t had the kind of reps or games that you’d like, but he has cer­tainly put him­self in a po­si­tion to be con­sid­ered,” Boone said.

Hicks bat­ted .235 with 12 home runs and a .769 OPS in 59 games this season. Brett Gard­ner, his re­place­ment in cen­ter field, clubbed 10 home runs in Septem­ber and an­other dur­ing the ALDS.

Chap­man had his pitch­ing hand wrapped Mon­day af­ter be­ing hit by a bot­tle dur­ing New York’s cel­e­bra­tion for elim­i­nat­ing Min­nesota. Boone said the hand wasn’t a con­cern.

Brit­ton jammed his right an­kle cov­er­ing first base,

but Boone ex­pects him to be a “full go with no is­sues.” The left-han­der got treat­ment Wed­nes­day and is set to throw a bullpen Thurs­day.

Boone said he hasn’t set a ro­ta­tion for the ALCS and hasn’t de­cided whether to carry 12 or 13 pitch­ers. That de­ci­sion may de­pend on the op­po­nent. New York used 12 pitch­ers dur­ing its five-game se­ries against the Twins, with left-han­der Tyler Lyons sub­bing into the spot va­cated by Sa­bathia. Lyons pitched a per­fect in­ning in Game 2.

TONY GU­TIER­REZ - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

New York Yan­kees start­ing pitcher CC Sa­bathia walks through the dugout in the sec­ond in­ning of a game against the Texas Rangers in Ar­ling­ton, Texas, Sun­day, Sept. 29, 2019.

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