Archive for CC Sabathia

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Yankees are off both today and tomorrow before resuming the regular season on Friday, at home against the Reds. Here are some injury updates in the meantime, courtesy of George King and Ken Davidoff:

  • Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) received his platelet-rich plasma injection on Monday as scheduled. Brian Cashman said the plan now calls for the team’s ace to rest before beginning a throwing program. There is no set date for Tanaka to resume working out and throwing.
  • CC Sabathia (knee) is scheduled to see Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Friday. He has already been examined by Dr. James Andrews, Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad, and Rangers team doctor Keith Meister. Microfracture surgery is a possibility but not guaranteed.
  • Michael Pineda (shoulder) continues to throw bullpen sessions and Cashman said the team hopes to get him back “sometime in August.” “He has gone from throwing on flat ground to bullpens. That leads to batting practice and rehab games,” added the GM.
  • Carlos Beltran (concussion) should be ready to be activated off the 7-day concussion disabled list when the second half opens on Friday. “That’s our hope,” said Cashman. The team has already sent down Bryan Mitchell to open a roster spot.
Categories : Injuries
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Friday: Girardi acknowledged that Sabathia may need microfracture surgery on his knee, which would really bad and knock him out for an extended period of time. “Whenever you have degenerative issues that cause surgery, there’s always a little question (about whether he will pitch again), yeah,” said the skipper.

Thursday, 11:00pm: The MRI showed only swelling in Sabathia’s knee, Girardi said following tonight’s game. CC will go see Dr. James Andrews for another look since he performed the stem cell treatment.

5:19pm: During a radio interview this afternoon (via David Lennon), Joe Girardi said CC Sabathia woke up with fluid in his knee today and will probably go for an MRI. He threw 3.2 innings and 55 pitches during a minor league rehab start with Double-A Trenton last night. Girardi said it’s unclear what the next step will be.

Sabathia, 33, has been out since mid-May due to a right knee injury. He has a degenerative condition and received a stem cell treatment a few weeks ago. Obviously the fluid in his knee is a setback, even if it’s only a minor one. With Michael Pineda just starting to play catch and Sabathia’s knee still not right, the Yankees are in desperate need for rotation help. They can’t count on either guy coming back to help this summer.

Categories : Asides, Injuries
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In his second minor league rehab start, CC Sabathia allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits, one walk, and one hit batsman in 3.2 innings with Double-A Trenton. He struck out two and threw 33 of 55 pitches for strikes (60%). A scout told Matt Kardos that Sabathia sat 88-90 and topped out at 92 mph.

Sabathia just left the game, so there’s no word on how he and his injured right knee felt just yet. This start came on three days’ rest but Joe Girardi confirmed Sabathia will start on regular rest from here on out. I have to think he’ll make at least two and probably three more rehab starts before rejoining the rotation.

Categories : Asides, Injuries
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In his first minor league rehab start with High-A Tampa, CC Sabathia allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. He struck out two. Adam Berry says he threw 24 of 36 pitches for strikes. A scout told Erik Boland that Sabathia sat 87-89 with a few 90s. “Couldn’t be happier with the way I felt physically out there,” he said to Berry, which is the most important thing.

Today’s outing officially starts the 30-day minor league rehab clock, so Sabathia has to be activated by July 27th. That’s enough time for four more rehab starts, if need be. There is no word on where Sabathia will pitch next, but it’s worth noting Double-A Trenton send out an email pushing tickets for next Thursday’s game, which would line up perfectly for his next outing. Makes sense to me, but there is no official word yet.

Categories : Asides, Injuries
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CC Sabathia reported “no issues” with his degenerative right knee following a two-inning, 34-pitch simulated game in Tampa earlier today, according to George King. Sabathia is tentatively scheduled to start a minor league rehab game in the rookie level Gulf Coast League on Saturday, but will likely throw a bullpen session or another simulated game in the coming days to make his arm strength is where it needs to be first.

Sabathia, 33, has been out since early-May with the knee issue. He received a stem cell treatment a few weeks ago and is not expected to return to the rotation until sometime next month, probably after the All-Star break. Sabathia had a 5.28 ERA (4.74 FIP) in 46 innings before getting hurt. The rotation has held up fine these last few weeks, but Vidal Nuno is really starting to get exposed and the Yankees need another starter. Nuno has set the bar nice and low. It won’t take much for Sabathia to be an upgrade.

Categories : Asides, Injuries
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(Rich Schultz/Getty)

(Rich Schultz/Getty)

The Yankees welcomed Francisco Cervelli back a two-month stint on the disabled list yesterday, so all of their position players are now healthy. Three-fifths of the rotation remain out, and Ivan Nova isn’t coming back this year following Tommy John surgery. Here are updates on the other two injured starters courtesy of Meredith Marakovits and Brian Heyman:

  • CC Sabathia (knee) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Monday, fastballs and changeups only. No sliders. He said he felt fine and will throw another bullpen session today. “We’ll just continue to increase the amount of pitches and the pitches that he throws. If he gets through (today), then he’ll probably throw another bullpen and we’ll increase the number there. And then if he gets through that, eventually you start to see hitters and BP and then you get the game,” said Joe Girardi, who said they have to build Sabathia back up like he just arrived to Spring Training. (It’s common for pitchers to hold off on throwing breaking balls early in camp so they can build up arm strength.)
  • Michael Pineda (shoulder) is scheduled to play catch on Saturday. It’ll be his first time throwing since suffering a setback at the end of last month. Like Sabathia, Pineda is basically at the start of his Spring Training routine. Expect the Yankees to be very careful with him during the rehab process given the nature of the injury and the fact that he’s already had one setback.

The Yankees have already acknowledged that Sabathia and Pineda will be out until at least July and August, respectively. That makes perfect sense given where they are in their rehab right now.

Categories : Injuries
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CC Sabathia could begin throwing off a mound as soon as next week, Joe Girardi told reporters yesterday. He has been playing catch for several days now. “CC’s been playing catch. He did a little bit of flat ground yesterday and hopefully when we get home next week I can possibly get him on a mound,” said Girardi to Brendan Kuty.

Sabathia, 33, has been out with what Brian Cashman called a “degenerative condition” in his right knee for a little more than a month now. He was pretty bad (5.28 ERA And 4.73 FIP) before getting hurt, though who knows how much the knee contributed to his struggles. Cashman said Sabathia is not expected back until sometime in July at the earliest, so while getting back up on a mound represents progress, he still has a long way to go before rejoining the rotation.

Categories : Asides, Injuries
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The Yankees open their three-game series with the Twins in a few hours, but first here are some more injury updates courtesy of Bryan Hoch, Chad Jennings, and Jeff Roberts:

  • Carlos Beltran (elbow) took batting practice on the field today and felt no discomfort. It seems increasingly likely he will avoid surgery. Beltran will need to play in some minor league rehab games before rejoining the team. He won’t do anything more than DH at first.
  • Shawn Kelley (back) threw his first bullpen session since hitting the disabled list today and everything went fine. He’ll need a minor league rehab outing or two before rejoining the club.
  • CC Sabathia (knee) will visit the doctor today and they’ll determine the next step in his rehab process. Joe Girardi said everything is going well so far.
Categories : Injuries
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The 2008 free agent signings

So long ago. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The 2008 season might not have been as bad as 2013, but Yankees fans would still like to forget it. It seemed that every little thing went wrong that season. Whenever it looked as though the Yankees might have a charge in them, the suffered another blow.

Let’s consider a (perhaps incomplete) list of those maladies:

  • Both Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes, top prospects who showed promise in 2007, started off the season in disastrous fashion.
  • Then Hughes got hurt.
  • Darrell Rasner started 20 games.
  • Much worse: Sidney Ponson started 15.
  • Save for a brilliant start here and there, Andy Pettitte was thoroughly mediocre.
  • The only two starters under age 30, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera, had wholly disappointing seasons. Cano was benched for lack of hustle, while Carbera got sent back to AAA after more than two service-time years in the bigs.
  • Jorge Posada, fresh off signing a new contract, played the first half with a bum shoulder which required surgery, forcing a cast of offensively inept backups into starting roles.
  • Hideki Matsui‘s balky knees limited him to under 400 PA and sapped him of his power.
  • Chien-Ming Wang suffered a foot injury that would indirectly end his career.
  • Derek Jeter had his worst season since 1996. (Sure, he won the AL Rookie of the Year Award that year, but we’d come to expect more of him.)
  • Joba Chamberlain dazzled out of the pen, and then in the rotation — until he suffered a shoulder injury that cut his season short (and probably ended up causing a lot more long-term damage than we typically account for).
  • They traded a reasonably effective Kyle Farnsworth and got back a wholly terrible Ivan Rodriguez.
  • Xavier Nady hit .330/.383/.535 before the Yankees traded for him, .268/.320/.474 for them.
  • Damaso Marte was terrible and then broke after the trade. Thankfully, they didn’t end up giving away anything of consequence.
  • All told the Yankees used 27 — twenty-seven! — pitchers.

What went right? Mike Mussina’s resurgence was nice to watch. Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi both stayed healthy and produced decent numbers. Alex Rodriguez wasn’t his 2007 MVP self, but he was still a top-five hitter. Unfortunately, he started his streak of six straight years on the disabled list. (Which he’ll have snapped at season’s end.) The Yanks did discover Al Aceves, which was nice, and Brian Bruney, which was nice for a very short period of time.

Despite all that, had there been a second Wild Card, or had the Rays improved by 22 wins, instead of 31, the Yanks would have made the playoffs. So how bad could the season have been?

It could have been a fatal sign going forward. The franchise players were getting older. Each had been hurt or saw diminished production during the 2008 season. The only starters under age 30 took steps backwards. Maybe it didn’t feel like it at the time, but the potential for disaster loomed during that off-season. The Yankees needed big changes, and that’s not easy to achieve through free agency.

Thankfully for the Yankees, the 2008-2009 free agent class featured a number of players who fit their exact needs. Even more thankfully, they shed a number of their biggest, and in some cases worst, contracts at the exact right time.

The 2008 payroll was a then-franchise-record $209 million (just a bit more than the 2005 payroll). Without some of those bigger contracts coming off the books, there’s now way that even the Yankees can afford to add contracts for CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira (and to a lesser extent, Nick Swisher). But the exact right contracts expired at the exact right time.

Jason Giambi cost the club $22 million in 2008. They essentially shed $17 million, though, since they had to pay him a $5 million buyout on his 2009 option.

Carl Pavano cost the club $11 million in 2008.

Bobby Abreu cost $16 million, but with a $2 million buyout the Yankees saved $14 million.

Mike Mussina cost $11 million, but the Yankees probably weren’t glad to be rid of him at that point.

Andy Pettitte cost $16 million. Worthwhile in 2007, but not so much 2008.

They also saved some money when Ivan Rodriguez’s contract expired. Trading away Wilson Betemit’s $1.6 million was like finding some loose change in the couch cushions.

In total the Yankees shed more than $70 million in salaries, mostly for players they were glad to be rid of, of who were considerably overpaid in 2008.

Time to reallocate those resource to more productive players.

Add up the guys they signed. At $23 million for Sabathia. $22.5 million for Teixeira, $18.5 million for Burnett, and $5.3 million for Swisher, plus another $5.5 million for bringing back Pettitte, you get $74.8 million.

They were able to fill their needs with such high-priced guys, because they had a number of lower-cost players on both sides of the ball. It took some faith in them rebounding, but Cano and Cabrera cost them a combined $7.4 million in 2009. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes earned the minimum, as did almost everyone in the bullpen. If they didn’t have those major-league-ready younger players, then spending $75 million on top-tier players makes less sense. You can have a core of great players, but you still need 25 players on the roster.

At the end of 2008, the Yankees were in a tough spot. Their younger players saw their flaws exposed during the season. There was plenty of uncertainty about the tested veterans. Without the perfect free agent class and money to lure them, the 2009 Yankees might not have been much better than 2008. Without some of those younger guys returning to form, or performing well for a change, the successful free agent signings might not have mattered.

The Yankees found the exact guys to fill needed spots. It cost them plenty, but each of the free agent signings (and trade bounty, in Swisher’s case) added significantly to the 2009 team’s production. Perhaps just as importantly, the Yankees stuck with those younger players and saw their patience rewarded. The entire off-season could have gone a lot differently. But it played out perfectly. We all know the reward.

Categories : Days of Yore
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(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

The Yankees have lost another one of their starters for an extended period of time. Brian Cashman confirmed to Joel Sherman that CC Sabathia will be out until at least July due to his continued right knee problems. Just last night we heard Sabathia was going to see another doctor after receiving a cortisone injection and stem cell treatment from Dr. James Andrews a few days ago.

“It will be no sooner than six weeks from now,”said the GM to Sherman. “Our dialogue with Andrews has been good and the small sample of stem cell procedures, the results are very successful, but he has to be pain free before strengthening, so there is a way to go. Because he is a starter it will take longer. I have no idea how long it will be and if it will be successful. We are hoping it is six weeks to a Major League return.”

Sabathia, 33, has what Cashman called “degenerative change” in his right knee, referring to the cartilage. He had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the knee after both the 2006 and 2010 seasons. Even the slimmed down version of Sabathia is a large man and he’s been coming down on that right knee — his landing leg — for a long time now. Joe Girardi said he is unsure if surgery will be necessary if the stem cell treatment doesn’t work.

“I have not been told that (surgery is possible), but I think you have to wait and see how all of this works,” said the manager to Chad Jennings yesterday. “I think any time you deal with a degenerative knee issue, at some point in your life something is probably going to flare up. I’m not a doctor, and I can’t tell you when that’s going to happen. When you have degenerative back (problems), it usually gets to the point where usually you have to have something done, so we’ll have to see.”

The Yankees are also without Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda, so three-fifths of their Opening Day rotation is hurt. Nova is done for the year following Tommy John surgery and Pineda recently started throwing bullpens as part of his throwing program, but he is still several weeks away from returning from his back/shoulder muscle injury. David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and most recently Chase Whitley have stepped into the rotation and have been … hit or miss. Let’s put it that way. They have combined for ten starts and have completed five full innings of work only six times (combined 3.62 ERA and 4.08 FIP).

We already know the Yankees are open to trading for pitching — “Generally at this time of year, nothing materializes. We will keep an eye out to see if something does,” said Cashman to Sherman — because they’re always open to trading for pitching. Hal Steinbrenner has indicated a willingness to take on salary and increase payroll, which seems unavoidable if the team wants to lands a rotation upgrade. Expect a lot of Cliff Lee and Jeff Samardzija chatter over the next few weeks.

The Yankees have just about exhausted their internal rotation candidates, with Alfredo Aceves, Brian Gordon, and Shane Greene next in line to make starts (not necessarily in that order). Manny Banuelos might be an option in the second half, and, if worst comes to worst, they could always pull Adam Warren out of his setup role and stretch him back out into a starter. Putting Dellin Betances back in the rotation should be a non-option given his history.

Sabathia has been pretty awful both this year (5.28 ERA and 4.72 FIP) and since the start of last year (4.87 ERA and 4.21 FIP), but that doesn’t mean the Yankees are better off without him. Far from it. Phelps, Nuno, and Whitley are five and fly pitchers who drain the bullpen — Betances can throw two innings every other day for only so long — and the Yankees run of the risk of burning out their key relievers later in the season. They need to get some more length from their starters, including Hiroki Kuroda.

On the other hand, it’s possible Sabathia will come out of this ordeal as a better pitcher once he’s healthy. He’s shown he will pitch through pain in the past, most notably pitching on the torn meniscus in 2010, with the bone spur in his elbow in 2012, and after blowing out his hamstring mid-start last September. Who knows how long the knee was bothering Sabathia and how getting it taken care of will help him? If he was unable to land comfortably, it would explain some of his location issues, no doubt. We’ll find out eventually, I guess.

For now, the Yankees are stuck with the totally awesome Masahiro Tanaka, the inconsistent Kuroda, and three rolls of the dice in the rotation. Pineda will hopefully be back early next month and that will be a huge help based on the way he was pitching earlier this year. At the very least, Sabathia’s ability to take the ball every fifth day and soak up some innings will be missed, especially by the middle relievers who have to pick up the slack.

Categories : Injuries
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