Yankees have big problems with their rotation

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Yankees have big problems with their rotation

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- That healthy lead the New York Yankees built up in the first half of the season is about to get tested. The Bronx Bombers put CC Sabathia on the disabled list before their game on Wednesday, and are set to make the same move with fellow starting pitcher Andy Pettitte after he fractured a bone in his left leg when he was hit by a batted ball in the Yankees' 5-4 win over the Cleveland Indians. On one of the most unfortunate days of this season for a team that has had some seriously lousy pitching luck, manager Joe Girardi appeared optimistic. He had some reason to be: His team was still up by 4 1-2 games on Baltimore in the AL East before the Orioles played later Wednesday night. "If we have to score some runs, we'll score some runs," Girardi said. They are probably going to have to score some runs. Right-hander Adam Warren is set to be called up from Triple-A on Thursday to make the start on Friday in Sabathia's place. Freddy Garcia is slated to go Monday in Pettitte's spot, and the Yankees are getting David Phelps to pitch deeper into games in the minors with an eye toward bringing him back to the big club as a starter. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he didn't want to make a trade to replace Pettitte in the rotation. Garcia has improved his velocity and command recently, and has been an effective starter most of his career. That includes a start in a playoff game he made for New York last season. "Phelps is a guy, who, if he were stretched out, would be our prime candidate," Cashman said. "We'll just have to figure it out. I would prefer not to go outside." Pettitte will be gone for much longer than Sabathia, who is only expected to miss two starts while on the 15-day DL because he strained his groin. Pettitte could even be placed on the 60-day DL, though the team estimated his earliest return after six weeks. The Yankees say they expect the break to heal without surgery. Casey Kotchman's low line drive hit Pettitte near his left ankle, the one the left-hander pushes off with. Pettitte took a step toward the ball near the third base line before gently dropping to the infield grass. Pettitte tried to stay in the game, but Girardi removed him when Pettitte came up limping after throwing one live pitch. Pettitte, who spoke to reporters after the game on crutches -- while clutching a tiny plastic bag with a few white pills in it -- said it hurt too much to push off properly when he was facing a batter. "I've been hit in the shin, in that area, so many times and I've never had to come out of a game," Pettitte said. "As soon as I threw that first pitch, I had an awful lot of pain, all the way down to my foot." Pettitte (3-3) retired after the 2010 postseason but returned to the Yankees this spring to shore up New York's pitching rotation, which at the time had already lost Michael Pineda to shoulder surgery. Pettitte, who has a 243-141 career record, is in his 14th season with New York. With Pettitte out, Derek Jeter is now the only Yankee on the field from the club's core four of players who won four World Series titles from 1996-2000. New York closer Mariano Rivera is out because of a season-ending knee injury, and Jorge Posada retired. "No one is going to feel sorry for us," Girardi said. "Guys have to step up." Although Sabathia is the better pitcher, the Yankees may be better able to weather his absence if he misses only two starts. Sabathia felt a twinge in the muscle on the inside of his left leg in the fourth inning of Sunday's win over the New York Mets. He didn't tell anyone about it until he still felt discomfort following a bullpen session Tuesday as he prepared for his next start. "I wanted to go out and pitch Friday, but it's early in the season and I want to be healthy," Sabathia said. Sabathia said he completed his bullpen session, and the injury didn't alter his throwing motion, though "it didn't feel good." Sabathia has been durable throughout his 12 seasons -- this is his third trip to the DL, following two with Cleveland. The most recent one was six years ago, when he missed the first month of the season because of a right oblique strain. He won the AL Cy Young the following year, and the Indians came within one win of taking the AL pennant. They traded Sabathia the following season. He has been healthy for the Yankees until now, and if it had been September or October in the midst of a pennant race, that likely would have been the case. But in June and with the Yankees in first place, Cashman said there is no need for the Yankees to put their ace at risk of aggravating the injury. "It was a one-way conversation," Cashman said. "I did all the talking. I know what he wants to do, but this is what we're going to do." The Yankees have lost enough pitchers to injury this season. Pineda is out for the season after having shoulder surgery -- before he even pitched in a big league game following an offseason trade from Seattle. Rivera tore his ACL and damaged the meniscus when his foot caught near the outfield wall while he was catching fly balls during batting practice before a game in Kansas City. Despite all that, the Yankees have won 15 of 18 games and lead the tough AL East. "We have a pretty experienced club," Girardi said. "We lost the greatest closer of all time, we were able to respond."

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Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward headline top 20 players set to be available in 2017 NBA free agency

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Gordon Hayward headline top 20 players set to be available in 2017 NBA free agency

NBA free agency technically does not begin until July 6 when teams can sign players, but on July 1 the league will commence a five-day moratorium when contracts can be negotiated. Some of those players will be restricted free agents if their teams make qualifying offers by the June 30 deadline. In those cases, offers can be matched to retain a player's rights.

Here is our ranking of the top 20 players set to hit free agency. The list does not include Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry, both of whom are certain to re-sign with the Warriors.

CLICK HERE FOR TOP 20 NBA FREE AGENTS GALLERY

1. Chris Paul, PG, Clippers 

Paul, 32, led a very good Clippers team that had hit a wall in the Western Conference. If winning is important, his best bet may be heading East.

2. Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers

Like Paul, Griffin could be on his way out of Los Angeles. At 28, a long-term deal could take him through the rest of his prime.

3. Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz  

The Celtics and Heat have already been linked to Hayward in rumors. He's the best swingman available this summer.

4. Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors

Lowry has already been linked to the Rockets. He's a legitimate All-Star who could help a lot of teams.

5. Paul Millsap, PF, Hawks

It will be interesting to see what type of deal Millsap gets at age 32. He's a very good player, but for how long?

[RELATED: Winners, losers, sleepers from 2017 NBA draft]

6. Serge Ibaka, C, Raptors

The best rim protector in this class, Ibaka should have plenty of interest.

7. Otto Porter, SF, Wizards (RFA)

It's unlikely the Wizards let Porter walk, though he should have some real suitors in restricted free agency.

8. Jrue Holiday, PG, Pelicans

The Pelicans are expected to do what they can to retain Holiday, who is still only 27. What if they can get Lowry, though?

9. Danilo Gallinari, SF, Nuggets

Gallinari averaged 18.2 points per game last season, but he's never been very efficient.

10. Nerlens Noel, PF, Mavs (RFA)

The Mavericks are intent on keeping Noel, who at 23 has as much potential to get better as anyone on this list.

CLICK HERE FOR TOP 20 NBA FREE AGENTS GALLERY

[RELATED: Brooks reminisces about Durant, 1st season in D.C.]

11. George Hill, PG, Jazz

Hill had his best season in 2016-17, but is 31 and it's a deep class of point guards.

12. Pau Gasol, C, Spurs

Gasol, who turns 37 in July, is likely to return to San Antonio.

13. Jeff Teague, PG, Pacers

Once an All-Star, Teague could be a nice bargain compared to Paul, Lowry and the big name point guards available.

14. Andre Iguodala, SF, Warriors

There have been conflicting reports on whether Iguodala will leave Golden State. At 33, this could be his last multi-year deal.

15. J.J. Redick, SG, Clippers

There should be a good deal of interest for Redick who can still start at age 33.

[RELATED: Wizards remain intent on signing Porter and Wall to new deals]

16. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Pistons (RFA)

If the Pistons let KCP go, he could offer a nice option for a team looking for a guard with upside. He does have some off-court concerns, though.

17. Mason Plumlee, C, Nuggets (RFA)

Perhaps Denver will want to bring Plumlee back just to save face on the Jusuf Nurkic trade.

18. Rudy Gay, SF, Kings

He turns 31 in August and ruptured his Achilles in January. Gay would probably be best served with a one-year deal to reset for next summer.

19. Derrick Rose, PG, Knicks

It will be interesting to see how much money Rose, who turns 29 in October and has dealt with all sorts of injuries, will get.

20. Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Hawks (RFA)

Hardaway had a breakout season for the Hawks and is just 25. It's hard to see Atlanta letting him go.

CLICK HERE FOR TOP 20 NBA FREE AGENTS GALLERY

[RELATED: 2018 NBA Mock Draft - The Lottery Edition]

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2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

The Dodgers are living their best life right now. 

Cody Bellinger looks like he's just going to go and hit two home runs a game for the rest of the year, Yasiel Puig is fun again and they're fresh off a 10-game win streak. Kenley Janson went 112 batters without issuing a walk. All of this is coming, by the way, during a year when Clayton Kershaw is more Very Good than he is Great. It's a good time to be a fan of an incredibly young and talented team in a top-5 market with a well-regarded front office that's been written a blank check. How did everyone not named the Dodgers do this week? To the rankings! 

2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

30. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

2017 Record: 24-49
Previous Ranking: 30
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Notable Performance:  Maikel Franco (.333/.419/.481 last week)

And there goes Maikel Franco, right back on the trade block. The Phillies' rebuild is starting to look a lot murkier. 

29. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

2017 Record: 27-50
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Brandon Belt (.316/.409/.947 last week)

It's weird to see the Giants play THIS poorly. Johnny Cueto is arguably the best available starter on the trade market though, and that obviously bodes well for their future. 

28. CINCINNATI REDS

2017 Record: 29-38
Previous Ranking: 27
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Joey Votto (.360/.385/.680 last week)

When you go 1-9 over the last 10 and let the Nats put an 18-spot on you, you drop a spot or two in the rankings. Them's the rules. 

27. SAN DIEGO PADRES

2017 Record: 31-44
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Notable Performance: Yangervis Solarte (.364/.462/.909 last week)

In an annual July tradition, the Padres will fleece someone for one of their relievers. Brad Hand in a Dodgers uniform, anyone? 

26. DETROIT TIGERS

2017 Record: 32-42
Previous Ranking: 15
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Miguel Cabrera (.400/.444/.840 last week)

The Tigers are our biggest fallers of the week. 2-8 in their last 10, including a frustrating Perfect Game bid broken up by a bunt single. Not their best week. 

SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS HERE