Sabathia goes 3.2 innings in second minor league rehab start

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.

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Sabathia allows two runs in first minor league rehab start

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.

Sabathia reports “no issues” following 2-inning simulated game in Tampa

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.

Injury Updates: CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda

(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.

Sabathia could begin throwing off a mound next week

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.

Injury Updates: Sabathia, Beltran, Kelley

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.

RAB Retrospective: The Perfection of The 2008 Off-Season

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.