CC Sabathia is disappointed to know for sure that his season is over, but the Yankees left-hander said on Saturday that he is relieved to be avoiding microfracture surgery, which could have put his career in jeopardy.
Sabathia is scheduled to have an arthroscopic debridement performed on Wednesday, cleaning out his right knee. Sabathia said that Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who will perform the surgery, is confident that the hurler will be able to be on the mound by Spring Training.
“He feels good about it and I do too,” Sabathia said. “[NBA star] Russell Westbrook had the same surgery and was able to come back and be fine. Obviously you have to deal with a little bit of swelling here and there, but that’s something I have to deal with.
“My goal was to pitch the next five or six years past this contract and to be able to go out and do that. I’m confident I’m going to be able to do that.”
Sabathia, who turns 34 on Monday, has not pitched in the big leagues since May 10, when he started against the Brewers at Miller Park and experienced swelling in his right knee. An MRI showed what the team called “degenerative changes” in the knee.
He was 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA this season and attempted to rehab with the aid of a stem cell injection, but experienced more knee issues after making a Minor League start for Double-A Trenton on July 2.
“I felt like I was on the right path,” Sabathia said. “Waking up that night after, it just didn’t make sense. I couldn’t even come in here and get my workout in and do the stuff that I wanted to do.”
Because of the wear and tear on his knee, there is a possibility that Sabathia will need to have additional arthroscopic procedures down the line. He said that would still be preferable to microfracture surgery, which has produced inconsistent results with athletes.
“It’s something that I’m going to have to deal with probably for the rest of my life and eventually have a big surgery,” Sabathia said. “Right now the goal is to keep playing and this is the easiest way to do it.”
Sabathia said that he should be able to resume activities six to eight weeks after the surgery, but he will be an idle observer as the Yankees fight to claim a postseason spot in the second half.
“It’s not fun, especially the way these guys have been grinding, and wanting to be a part of it,” Sabathia said. “I’ve been doing everything I can to get back out on the field. It’s just unfortunate.
“It’s something I’ve never had to deal with, but I am now. Hopefully this will give me the time to get healthy and come back to be ready to go in Spring Training.”
Shawn Kelley will return to the Yankees bullpen tonight. Kelley has not pitched in a big league game since May 6 due to a lumbar spine strain, but has re-joined the Yankees in Seattle and has been activated from the disabled list.
In a corresponding roster move, the Yankees optioned right-hander Matt Daley to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Also prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees acquired left-hander David Huff from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for cash considerations. Huff, a familiar face who was with the Yanks last year, will be used as a multi-inning reliever. Left-hander Wade LeBlanc was designated for assignment.
NEW YORK — Already on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation, Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia has requested to see Dr. James Andrews for a precautionary visit, general manager Brian Cashman said on Monday.
Cashman first revealed Sabathia’s intentions in an interview with ESPN’s Michael Kay on 98.7 FM in New York, noting that Sabathia “typically likes to follow up everything with Andrews.” Sabathia is also scheduled to see team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on Monday.
Sabathia was sent for an MRI following his start against the Brewers on Saturday, in which Sabathia allowed three home runs in 5 1/3 innings and finished with a no-decision in a 5-4 loss at Miller Park.
The MRI revealed a buildup of fluids in Sabathia’s knee, but no structural damage. That was a point of concern for the Yankees, considering that Sabathia considering Sabathia had surgery on the knee to repair a torn meniscus after the 2010 season.
Sabathia is scheduled to have the knee drained and has said that he hopes to rejoin the rotation in two weeks. Sabathia is 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA in eight starts this season.
Even with all of their offseason remodeling, the Yankees never came up with a concrete plan to prepare for losing Mark Teixeira from their lineup for an extended period of time.
Four games into the regular season, they may be forced to scramble for a ‘Plan B.’ Teixeira strained his right hamstring in the second inning of the Yankees’ 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, and while Teixeira hopes to avoid the disabled list, he said that he is “not super optimistic about it.”
“I definitely don’t want to go on the DL,” Teixeira said. “I’m really hoping that [Saturday] morning, I wake up, we go through some stuff with the doctors, and it feels good. But we’ll see.”
Teixeira said that he has been scheduled to have an MRI on Monday in New York. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Teixeira would be re-evaluated on Saturday morning, and suggested that the club’s travel schedule – they did not make it to Toronto from Houston until 6 a.m. ET on Friday – may have been a contributing factor.
“It kind of leaves you scrambling a little bit,” Girardi said. “Why it happens, and there’s always those concerns. Today before the game started, my concern was fatigue for guys. We don’t ever know why a guy gets hurt, but I was concerned about tonight.”
The injury occurred when Teixeira pursued a foul ball during the second inning, reaching for the back of his right leg. He gestured to the Yankees’ dugout and briefly spoke with Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue on the field before coming out of the game.
“I knew it was going to be foul, but I went and caught it anyway,” Teixeira said. “I just took an awkward step, and when I landed, I felt a grab in my hamstring. It wasn’t one of those excruciating, fall to the ground because of the pain [injuries], but it was significant enough that I knew something was wrong.”
Teixeira also strained his right hamstring in Game 4 of the 2010 American League Championship Series, effectively ending his season. At the time, the Yankees estimated a six-to-eight week recovery period, based upon the severity of that Grade 2 strain.
Teixeira said that Friday’s injury did not feel as severe, but he is frustrated after being limited to just 15 games last year by a right wrist injury that required season-ending surgery.
“It’s just really disappointing, because this whole Spring Training, my legs have felt really good,” Teixeira said. “No problems doing anything, and it’s just a weird thing.”
With Teixeira out of the lineup, Kelly Johnson may be pressed into more duty at first base. Johnson worked out this spring at first base and replaced Teixeira there after Friday’s injury, but he spent more time this spring getting reps at third base, where he was expected to be the regular starter in Alex Rodriguez’s absence.
“It’s day to day,” Johnson said. “I’m going to get more comfortable as I play more over there, just like anything. Not too bad. [First base is] a lot more similar to third than it is to second. Getting over there at third and getting to first is not too bad.”
The Yankees had Alfonso Soriano take ground balls at first base this spring, but abandoned the experiment, saying that there was not enough time to make him a serviceable option. They also talked about Russ Canzler as a potential backup first base option this spring; Canzler is at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and is not on the 40-man roster.
We updated our story from last night on MLB.com, but in case you missed it, the Yankees released the following statement this afternoon about Eduardo Nunez:
Please note that an MRI taken earlier today at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital on Eduardo Nunez’s right knee was negative. Nunez is day-to-day.
Nunez was very concerned about a possible disabled list assignment when he left Rogers Centre last night.
It’s been a rough year for Nunez, who thought he’d get a chance to shine as the starting shortstop with Derek Jeter missing most of the year. But Nunez wound up falling victim to the injury bug as well and didn’t really distinguish himself much when he was in the lineup.
Also on the injury front, Robinson Cano was supposed to get treatment today at Yankee Stadium on his bruised left hand. Cano is hopeful that he will play Friday against the Orioles, but he’ll have to go through batting practice before the Yankees know for sure.