Cespedes: 'I'll rest when we get a championship'


Cespedes: 'I'll rest when we get a championship'

OAKLAND -- Yoenis Cespedes has missed 34 games this year, but he's already played 20 more than the 90-game seasons he's accustomed to in Cuba, and he's not close to done. If things go his way, Cespedes will be in the lineup for the final 19 games of his rookie season and beyond.

"I'm going to be in the lineup every day," Cespedes said through translator Ariel Prieto. "I'll rest when we get a championship."

After leaving Thursday's game in Los Angeles with a sprained right wrist -- an injury he's had trouble with earlier this season -- his presence in the lineup was in question.

NEWS: Cespedes not sitting this one out

"I wasn't 100-percent sure," manager Bob Melvin said. "I think more than anything it scared him a little bit yesterday based on the fact he had that injury earlier in the year. Didn't want to push it. And once he got here today, it was good enough to play. I was thinking DH, but he was good to play the outfield too.

"We're encouraged by that."

The A's can also be encouraged by the fact that Cespedes' numbers are staying consistent -- and good. In just a handful more at-bats after the All-Star break than before, Cespedes has almost twice as many runs, more hits and stolen bases and a batting average that's .046 points higher.

"For a guy that's used to a 90-game season, you can get a little bit run down, as much mentally as physically," Melvin said. "We've been trying to combat that some with some DH spots. Obviously a very important guy for us, so we want to keep him as refreshed as we can."

His importance can't be understated. The A's win a remarkable 64-percent of the games that feature Cespedes. With a 12-22 record in the 34 games he's missed, and a six-team race for a playoff berth, his playing time prophecy could be accurate.

"He wants to play, there's no doubt," Melvin acknowledged.

That said, the team will keep a close eye on him as his game total continues to rise.

"This whole year has been a work in progress for him trying to figure out how to do a 162-game season," Melvin said. "And I think he's done a nice job."

Longevity in baseball is all about adjustments. If his first year playing a 162-game season in a new country against decidedly tougher pitching is any indication, Cespedes could be around for awhile. But Melvin and the A's have a responsibility to keep Cespedes sharp this year, and if it means a day off, he'll have to deal with it. The team is already trying to limit his extra batting practice, as Melvin cited his work ethic and habits of arriving early and taking plenty of swings.

Cespedes, whose wrists were already taped four hours before gametime Friday, said his injury is feeling better, but it's still "a little sore." Indicating he's ready to go, Cespedes joked in English, "I can walk."

Then he went out and hit -- in his regularly-scheduled batting practice -- a 400-foot bomb to left field that landed in an empty seat in Oakland Coliseum's second deck. He can swing too.

Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'


Vallejo-native, free agent-to-be Sabathia after Yankees loss: 'This is my home'

C.C. Sabathia couldn't save the Yankees' 2017 season. And now he has a decision to make.

After nine seasons in New York, the 37-year-old hits the free agent market this winter.

With career earnings nearing $250 million and a 2009 World Series ring already on his resume, would the Vallejo-native consider coming home to play for the A's? That's a question that was posed to Insider Joe Stiglich last week.

While it's a possibility, based on comments after Saturday's ALCS Game 7 loss to the Astros, it sounds like Sabathia doesn't want to leave The Bronx.

“I feel like this is a young team, and we will turn this into something great. This is my home, and I want to see this thing through," Sabathia told reporters, according to The Associated Press.

Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series


Astros win two straight vs Yankees, advance to take on Dodgers in World Series


HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis off Sabathia which made it 1-0.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles after that before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who dropped Game 7 to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS 13 years ago today.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh inning.