Maybe I'm weird, but I love watching American League pitchers hit.
Read that carefully, because I didn't say I love watching American League pitchers strike out. Or ground weakly back to the mound.
I love it when they hit . . . which doesn't happen often.
But if I could name one highlight from 14-plus years of interleague play, it might be CC Sabathia's 440-foot home run at Dodger Stadium in 2008.
So if there's one thing I'm looking forward to this weekend, as interleague play resumes, it's watching Sabathia hit at Wrigley Field.
I know, he's done it before, going 0-for-2 with a sacrifice when he was pitching for the Brewers. I know, Sabathia has come to the plate 101 times in the big leagues (about half of them during his half-season in the National League), plus five more times in the postseason.
And I know, American League managers fear these interleague road games, worrying that a pitcher could get hurt while hitting or running the bases (as the Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang did in (also in 2008).
But just as I loved talking to Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson about his hitting, I love the idea of Sabathia swinging for the fences Sunday night at Wrigley.
No AL pitcher has hit a home run since 2009, when Josh Beckett homered in Philadelphia and Mark Buehrle hit one in Milwaukee.
In the 14-plus years of interleague play, American League pitchers have hit 16 home runs (none by a Yankee). Only Sabathia and Beckett have hit more than one, with two apiece.
Sabathia owns a .258 batting average in his 97 career at-bats, which means he has a higher career batting average than Dan Uggla . . . or Andruw Jones . . . or B.J. Upton.
And with three career home runs (he hit one in the National League with the Brewers), Sabathia has more than Francisco Cervelli or Chris Getz.
Anyway, there was a point this week where we all wondered if this weekend's Wrigley highlight would be the Yankee shortstop getting to 3,000 hits. Now, the highlight I'm looking for is Sabathia's 26th career hit -- but only if it's his fourth career home run.
On to 3 to Watch:
1. We interrupt all this talk of pitchers hitting to talk about a matchup of two pitchers who were traded for each other: Edwin Jackson, who went to the White Sox, and Daniel Hudson, who went to the Diamondbacks. They meet up in White Sox at Diamondbacks, Friday night (9:40 ET) at Chase Field. So far, since the trade, Jackson is 8-7 with a .383 ERA in 24 starts. Hudson is 14-6 with a 2.83 ERA in 25 starts. It's more one-sided than that, because Jackson is making $8.35 million and a free agent after this year. Hudson is making $419,000 and isn't even arbitration-eligible for another year. Oh, and Hudson is a .214 hitter. Jackson's career average is .147.
2. If Sabathia is the most successful AL pitcher at the plate, Justin Verlander is the least. In five years' worth of at-bats with the Tigers, Verlander is 0-for-16, with 10 strikeouts (although he does have five successful sacrifice bunts). He has never walked or been hit by a pitch, so his OPS is a perfect .000. Jon Lester is just behind him at 0-for-15, but Lester had a walk and a sacrifice fly last year. Verlander gets another chance at the plate in Tigers at Rockies, Sunday afternoon (3:10 ET) at Coors Field. He also gets another chance at the mound, which means he gets another chance to prove he's now the best pitcher in baseball -- which means a little more than his lack of success with the bat.
3. I probably shouldn't be getting your (or my) hopes up about watching Sabathia hit. He started two games in National League parks last year, and went 1-for-5 (a single), with three strikeouts. The year before, he went 1-for-4 (also a single). So no guarantees when he starts against Randy Wells in Yankees at Cubs, Sunday night (8:05 ET) at Wrigley Field.