CC Sabathia had a sore arm on Sunday and left the game in the second inning. After investing $161 million in the big lefty, that was the last thing the Yankees wanted to see.
George King of the Post talked to Sabathia yesterday and asked him what he thought caused the pain. Was it throwing 253 innings in the 2008 regular season and making his last four starts on three days’ rest?
“No, that’s not it,” Sabathia said. “It could be the 120 pitches this year.”
Has CC been abused this season? Let’s check it out.
Sabathia has thrown 119+ pitches three times this season: April 16 (122), May 2 (119) and June 11 (123). In his 14 starts before the injury, he pitched into the eighth inning eight times.
When Sabathia was with the Indians and Brewers last season, he did not get to 119 pitches until June 5 and his first time over 120 was on July 2. He pitched into the eighth inning four times in his first 14 starts.
So Yankees manager Joe Girardi has pushed Sabathia more than he was last season, but not by an unreasonable amount. Throwing 122 pitches in mid April is eye-opening. But it’s hard to say that caused a sore arm two months later.
CC is also a 28-year-old man with a long-term contract. If he thinks he has had enough, he can voice that opinion and presumably the manager would listen to him.
But these situations bear watching. Clearly Girardi made an error by playing Alex Rodriguez every day, something that even he admitted. And now Sabathia is raising questions about his use.
Girardi knows if the Yankees fail to make the playoffs, he’s out of a job. At the age of 44, he would have already been fired twice. Finding a third chance would be difficult. Were I in his spot, I’d want CC Sabathia on the mound, too.
Now that the Yankees seem to have crafted a reasonably effective bullpen, perhaps Sabathia won’t have to get pushed quite so much.