Archive for CC Sabathia
Via Sweeny Murti, left-hander CC Sabathia came through today’s 38-pitch bullpen session just fine and doesn’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be able to start on Friday, the first day he is eligible to come off the DL. The Yankees still need to see how he feels tomorrow before making it official, however. Sabathia has been on the DL for a little than two weeks with stiffness in his left elbow.
Left-hander CC Sabathia reported no problems with his left elbow following a bullpen session this morning. The Yankees placed their ace on the DL with stiffness in the elbow last weekend. The plan calls for Sabathia to throw another bullpen on Tuesday before coming off the DL and returning to the rotation at his old stomping grounds in Cleveland on Friday, the first day he is eligible to be activated.
After coming through yesterday’s flat ground throwing session a-okay, left-hander CC Sabathia told Sweeny Murti that he will get back up on a mound and throw a bullpen session tomorrow. It’ll be his first time throwing off a mound since being placed on the DL with elbow stiffness last weekend. Sabathia remains on target to return to the rotation next Friday in Cleveland, the first day he is eligible to be activated off the DL.
3:02pm: Sabathia told Dan Martin that he felt good following today’s throwing session and that he remains on track to start that August 24th game. “It felt really good,” he said. “I didn’t feel anything in the elbow, so I am confident. I’m just looking forward to pitching next Friday.” How he feels tomorrow is important as well, but so far so good.
11:30am: Via George King, left-hander CC Sabathia will throw off flat ground today for the first time since being placed on the DL with elbow stiffness over the weekend. “I have just been getting treatment,” he said when asked what he’s been doing in the meantime. Sabathia insists that he will be on the mound on August 24th against the Indians, the first day he is eligible to be activated, but throwing today is a significant step even if it’s not off a mound. Hopefully he comes through fine and can start working his way back in earnest.
There are very few things in baseball that you can consider guarantees, but CC Sabathia logging oodles of innings has been one of them for the last decade. The big left-hander has thrown at least 180 innings every season since his rookie campaign in 2001 and at least 230 innings every year since 2007. That doesn’t even count his 86 postseason innings either. That elite level of durability is one of the reasons why the Yankees made Sabathia the wealthiest pitcher in baseball history after the 2008 season.
This season has been a slightly different story, however. Sabathia is currently on the DL with elbow stiffness, his second DL stint of the season. The first was due to a groin strain that cost him the minimum 15 days. CC came into the season with just two career DL visits to his credit — oblique strains in 2005 and 2006 — but he’s already doubled that total with roughly eight weeks left in the schedule. A short-term groin strain isn’t that big of a deal, but the elbow problem is. Any arm-related injury is a big deal.
“After Seattle, I was (nervous),” said Sabathia the other day. “I woke up the next day and my arm was kind of swollen, and I didn’t have any range of motion. So I was really nervous, honestly. So we had the test, and once the MRI came back clean, I just knew it was something I’ll have to deal with. I know there’s nothing structurally wrong with my arm.”
No range of motion? That just sounds scary. Sabathia fought the team’s decision to place him on the DL and insists that he will be on the mound August 24th in Cleveland, the first day he is eligible to return. That’s all well and good, but he is at the mercy of his body. If his elbow keeps barking, he won’t be pitching. I have to think finding out that your ace pitcher who has thrown nearly 1,000 more pitches than any other pitcher since his rookie year doesn’t have range of motion in his elbow had to be terrifying for the front office, especially after giving him a five-year, $122M contract this past offseason.
In addition to the injuries, Sabathia’s performance this season is a notch below his usually high standard. His strikeout (8.89 K/9 and 23.5 K%), walk (2.22 BB/9 and 5.9 BB%) and ground ball (48.5%) rates are more than fine, but his 3.56 ERA is his highest since 2005. He’s given up a few more homers than usual (0.95 HR/9 and 12.1 HR/FB%) and isn’t stranding as many baserunners as he has in recent years (70.1 LOB%). Oddly enough, left-handed hitters have hit him harder this year (.314 wOBA) than they have at any point since 2006. Sabathia usually owns same-side hitters with his slider. A 3.56 ERA (3.32 FIP) is still really really good, but it’s not what we’re used to seeing from the big guy.
Sabathia turned 32 last month, so he’s starting to get into his decline years. It’s safe to say that his best seasons are behind him, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to fall off a cliff and be a disaster going forward. He might just be really good instead of dominant. This recent elbow injury is a concern because pitching is such an unnatural act and Sabathia’s career workload is enormous. He’s been an absolute rock ever since the Yankees signed him, taking the ball every five days during the regular season and every four days in the postseason without missing a beat, and they absolutely did the right thing by playing it safe and placing him on the DL. All that wear-and-tear is likely to manifest itself at some point though, and this season may be a sign that the time to pay the piper is on the horizon.
Update by Mike (5:31 p.m.): Just to be clear, Sabathia did have an MRI and everything came back clean according to Sweeny Murti. He’s on the DL retroactively, so the hope is that he’ll miss the minimum two starts.
Update by Joe (4:23 p.m.): Joe Girardi announced that Sabathia will go on the 15-day DL. He told reporters that the concern was “low level,” though it’s tough to imagine him saying anything more grave. Mark Feinsand tweets: “Sabathia has felt some minor stiffness the past couple starts. It hasn’t gotten worse but it hasn’t gotten better.” The idea is to make sure that he’s fresh and healthy for the stretch run. He can come off the DL August 23rd.
Via Mark Feinsand, left-hander CC Sabathia has experienced some minor soreness in his left elbow since his last start. He threw his regular bullpen session yesterday, though there is still a chance the team plays it safe and skips his next start. “Right now, it’s a low-level concern … Long-term, it’s not a big concern,” said Feinsand’s source.
The Yankees can downplay this all they want, but they obviously have to take a conservative approach here. Especially with such a comfortable lead in the division. Play it safe, please.
Baseball America published a feature looking at the best tools in the Major Leagues today (subs. req’d), polling managers and I believe other team officials in various categories. Robinson Cano was all over the American League rankings, placing second in Best Hitter (behind Miguel Cabrera), second in Most Exciting Player (behind Mike Trout), and first in Best Defensive Second Baseman. Joey Votto was named the Best Hitter in the NL, Andrew McCutchen the Most Exciting Player.
Mark Teixeira (tops in Best Defensive First Baseman), Andy Pettitte (tops in Best Pickoff Move), CC Sabathia (second in Best Slider to Chris Sale), and Derek Jeter (third in Best Hit-and-Run Artist behind Elvis Andrus and Erick Aybar) also cracked the rankings in various categories. The minor league edition of best tools will be out tomorrow.
McDonald was claimed off waivers from the Red Sox a little less than two weeks ago with the idea that he might help against Boston’s left-handed starters in the series prior to the All-Star break. That didn’t work out — he made outs in all four plate appearances in pinstripes — and his time with the club will probably be best remembered for contributing to Curtis Granderson‘s dropped fly ball in last Saturday’s game. Anyway, welcome back CC.
Other than Robinson Cano, left-hander CC Sabathia is pretty much the last guy on the roster you would expect to visit the disabled list. A left groin strain sent him to the sidelines for the first time in six years, but the Yankees will welcome their ace back this evening after a brief little two-week hiatus. He’s thrown a handful of bullpen sessions and one simulated game during the time off, and everything has checked out a-okay. No need for a minor league rehab start or anything like that.
“Hopefully I just don’t come back and mess it up,” joked Sabathia yesterday. “I’m going to throw until they tell me to stop. I feel good. My arm feels good. I haven’t felt (the groin strain) since the first week of the injury … I think the rest was good for my arm, even more so than my legs. I don’t think I’ll have any limitations on pitches. I’ll be ready to go.”
Joe Girardi indicated that he won’t run Sabathia out there for a typical Sabathia-length outing tonight even though he supposedly has no restrictions, so expect something like 100 pitches instead of 120. No reason not to play it safe at this point, especially with a big nine-game lead in the division. Command is the primary concern after a layoff like this and frankly CC has been battling his command all season anyway. Maybe the rest will do him some good in that department, that would be nice.
Sabathia only missed two starts thanks to the All-Star break and the Yankees split the two games — the Adam Warren disaster and a win behind David Phelps in Tampa — which is pretty much all you could realistically ask. In fact the Yankees went 12-6 while Sabathia was out and they stretched the division lead from three games to nine games because the rest of the team really clicked. Almost all of those games were played against division rivals too. Hooray for that.
There’s no good time to lose a pitcher like CC, but losing him for two starts sandwiched around the All-Star break with a big division lead is about as good as it gets. Brett Gardner and Andy Pettitte aren’t coming back anytime soon, but at least Sabathia will return tonight and that makes this team even more dangerous. Hopefully there’s no rust and if there is, he can shake it off in short order. The Yankees have the best record in baseball, and they’re about to get one of the best pitchers in the game back into their rotation.
The National League wrecked the American League on Tuesday night, winning the 2012 All-Star Game by the score of 8-0. Starter Justin Verlander gets most of the blame after allowing five runs before his teammates even got to hit in the first inning. Former Yankee Melky Cabrera took home the MVP Award thanks to his 2-for-3 showing. He hit a two-run homer off Matt Harrison. It was the NL’s third straight All-Star Game win.
As for the Yankees, captain Derek Jeter went 1-for-2 with an infield single off Matt Cain. Robinson Cano went 1-for-2 with a ground ball single up the middle (off Stephen Strasburg) and Curtis Granderson went 0-for-2 with a fly out and a ground out. All three started the game at their regular positions and played five innings in the field. CC Sabathia was selected to the game but did not pitch due to his groin strain. Cano left his good friend Melky hanging on the above high-five attempt following his homer, so that was pretty funny.
More importantly, the National League has clinched home field advantage in the World Series. That’s pretty unfortunate. The Yankees are legitimate contenders and should they make it to the Fall Classic, it would have been nice to both open the series as well as play a potential Game Seven at home in the Bronx. Oh well, they’ll just have to do it the hard way.