Outside of a few YES Network camera shots of the Yankees bench, we haven’t seen much of CC Sabathia lately. He went to Dr. James Andrews, had a stem cell injection into his right knee, and he’s spent his days working up to walking on a low-impact treadmill. But he was in the clubhouse this afternoon, for a quick update on his status.
“I feel great right now,” Sabathia said. “I do feel pretty confident. I didn’t know going into it. I woke up (after the procedure), my leg was stiff, and I didn’t know what was going on. But three, four days later, I felt pretty good. And I’ve been feeling good ever since.”
Sabathia said he’s been throwing off a chair, but really just throwing batting practice to his son down in the indoor batting cage. He hasn’t been doing much real baseball work since the injection. That should change later this week when Sabathia plans to play catch for the first time.
“I think I’ll be at ease once I play catch, outside, standing up,” Sabathia said. “So this week, we should have a little more clarity about how long it’s going to be.”
The Yankees initially said that six weeks was their best estimate for how long it would take for Sabathia to get back — which put his return sometime in early July — but they’ve also acknowledged that a lot of this is a mystery. Not many pitchers have gone through a treatment like this. In fact, Sabathia said the player he’s talked to most is Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire who had a similar injection in his knee.
“I think once we start throwing, we could progress at any rate,” Sabathia said. “It could be end of this month, could be July. Don’t have a date.”
• Icon of the Tampa Bay sports reporting scene, Adam Berry checked in on Carlos Beltran at today’s extended spring training game in Clearwater. Beltran went 0-for-3 and told Berry that he plans to play in two more extended spring games and then join the Yankees on the upcoming road trip. “I feel good, man,” Beltran said. “The elbow felt good. That’s the reason why I’m here, to try to test it. Today, three at-bats; (Tuesday) hopefully a little more. As soon as I do all these days here and everything goes well, then I’ll go back.”
• Worth noting that Beltran said he has been only hitting, not throwing. Joe Girardi has indicated that Beltran will likely get more DH time when he returns, but if he’s not playing catch at all, that might be an indication that he’ll be strictly a DH at least initially.
• As a bonus, Berry got a look at Francisco Cervelli during today’s extended spring game. Cervelli caught three innings, went 1-for-2 at the plate. Cervelli told Berry that today was his third extended spring game. Progress seems to be going well, but it will be a while before Cervelli’s eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list. “Very good,” Cervelli said. “We’re going slow because I’ve got two more weeks, so I had to wait. But we’re doing good.”
• Shawn Kelley plans to throw a simulated game on Wednesday. Girardi said Kelley will likely go on a rehab assignment after that.
• Nothing new on Mark Teixeira. Girardi said the real test will come tomorrow when the Yankees check to find out whether the cortisone shot has done the trick.
• After throwing 27 pitches each of the past two games, it’s hard to imagine Dave Robertson being available to close tonight. Girardi, though, said he would check with Robertson. He didn’t rule out using him. Again, hard to imagine it happening.
• Speaking of Robertson, any concern about how he’ll bounce back from his worst outing in years?
• Any concern about the struggling offense feeling overwhelming by Felix Hernandez? “Oh, I don’t think so,” Girardi said. “They obviously know that they have to put good at-bats on him, just like they would any other day. I don’t think it necessarily plays into their mind, so we’ll approach it like any other day.”
Associated Press photo