The New York Yankees have told Major League Baseball they want to be one of the teams for the sport’s first games in continental Europe at the Stade de France outside Paris during 2025, two people familiar with the planning told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because MLB has not made details public.
“That’s cool. It sounds pretty exciting,” Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole said. “That’s going to be a really special opportunity.”
MLB has not yet reached any decisions on teams for the France games and has been more focused on the 2023 schedule, with its new balanced format.
In addition, the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres have been picked for games in Mexico City next season, one of the people said, also on condition of anonymity.
The stadium in France, at Saint-Denis, was built for the 1998 World Cup and was the site of this year’s Champions League final. It has a soccer capacity of about 80,000.
New York played MLB’s games in London, sweeping a two-game series from the Boston Red Sox, 17-13 and 12-8, at West Ham’s Olympic Stadium in June 2019. MLB hosted players the night before the game at the Tower of London.
“We loved it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Our guys, from spring training when they knew it was on the horizon, were all very excited about it. I remember the week leading up to it, there was a genuine excitement in our locker room about going. And it was a really, really positive experience for myself and I feel like our team. It was a great venue and a great break in the season.”
The Yankees and Red Sox traveled after Wednesday home days games and had two days off before the weekend series.
“The most important thing is to be able to have the off day to kind of get yourself on track and adjust to the time zone,” said Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks, who became the first major league player to homer in England.
St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs were to have played in London in 2020 but those games were canceled because of the pandemic, and they are the likely teams for games in London in 2023. The new collective bargaining agreement also calls for London games in 2024 before the first France games in 2025 and a return to London in 2026.
MLB’s CBA envisions annual Mexico City games from 2023-26, an Asian opener in 2024 and a Tokyo opener in 2025.
Yankees place RHP Severino on COVID list
Luis Severino was scratched from his start for the New York Yankees home game against Tampa Bay on Thursday night and placed on the COVID-19 injured list.
Righthander Clarke Schmidt replaced Severino as the Yankees’ starting pitcher.
Severino is 4-1 with a 2.80 ERA and the 28-year-old righthander was to have made his 100th career start in the series finale.
Schmidt, a 26-year-old righthander, entered 3-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 11 relief appearances, striking out 15 and walking 10 in 19⅓.
New York selected the contract of righthander Ryan Weber from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Weber is 4-12 with a 5.28 ERA in seven major league seasons with Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Milwaukee, and is 2-2 with a 2.95 ERA this year in four starts and four relief appearances at Scranton.
Lefthander Jalen Beeks (1-1, 1.38) was to open for the Rays in place of righthander Drew Rasmussen, who went on the 15-day injured list because of a strained left hamstring.
Guardians minority owner approved
Their name changed, and now the Cleveland Guardians appear on the way to a switch in ownership.
Major League Baseball approved the sale of a minority stake in the team to David Blitzer, whose sports holdings include ownership shares in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Blitzer initially will have 25-30 percent ownership and will have the right to increase his stake to a controlling interest in several years, said one of the people. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been finalized.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced approval of the sale at the conclusion of a three-day owners meeting in New York.
“We did approve a sale of a minority interest in the Guardians, pending the closing,” Manfred said. “Really excited about the change there.”
Manfred offered no other details and the team has not commented.
Guardians owner Paul Dolan has been seeking a minority investor in his franchise for several years. His interest began when previous minority investor John Sherman bought the Kansas City Royals for $1 billion in 2019.
In December, Dolan said the team had “meaningful discussions” with Blitzer, a 52-year-old equity investor and co-chairman of the 76ers and Devils. Blitzer is also a general partner with Crystal Palace Football Club.
OF Winker, Mariners avoid arbitration
All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker, 28, and the Seattle Mariners avoided a salary arbitration hearing next Wednesday when they agreed to a $14.5 million, two-year contract.
Winker gets $6.25 million this year and $8.25 million in 2023.
In the second season, he can earn $400,000 in performance bonuses for plate appearances: $100,000 each for 500 and 550, and $200,000 for 600.
He also can earn award bonuses of $150,000 for MVP, $100,000 for World Series MVP, and $50,000 each for All-Star election, League Championship Series MVP, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove. He would get $25,000 for an All-Star selection.
Machado notches 1,500th hit
Manny Machado lined a single for his 1,500th hit and hit a two-run homer and had 4 RBIs to help the Padres beat the reeling Cubs, 19-5, Wednesday night in Chicago.
Machado was one of five Padres with three hits as San Diego routed the Cubs for the second straight hot night at Wrigley Field. Jorge Alfaro added a two-run homer and three RBIs as San Diego improved to 40-24 in winning its third straight and seventh in nine.
“It’s a great milestone to accomplish,” said Machado, 29. “I just go out there and play baseball. Obviously winning ballgames is most important thing to me and the milestones will come with winning baseball games.”