Approximately six weeks ago New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman announced that starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia would be out until sometime around the All-Star break. That theory held true until Thursday morning.
When Sabathia woke up the morning after his second rehab start for Double-A Trenton on Wednesday he found swelling in his right knee. Sabathia, who made his last start for the Yankees on May 10, has been trying to rehab from a degenerative cartilage problem in that knee since his last big league start.
Sabathia had not been having a good season up until May 10. His ERA had ballooned up to 5.28, a career high for the 33-year old six-time All-Star. His second rehab start showed little improvement if any. He pitched just 3 2/3 innings allowing five runs on five hits and a walk while striking out just two batters.
Some have speculated that Sabathia’s pitching woes were due to his 40 pound weight loss causing a change in his velocity. This, however, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Without the extra weight that he had carried throughout his entire career he was a healthier, more athletic player and weight does not often factor into velocity. There have been plenty of smaller, skinnier pitchers in MLB history who could throw just as hard as Sabathia. There is the possibility that it could just be a product of his age and having pitched 13 seasons prior to 2014 supporting that extra weight, but these are only speculations.
In fact it could just be that this is the end of Sabathia’s career. Yes, 34, is relatively on the young side for retirement but it is not out of the question. On Friday Joe Girardi told the media that it was “fair to say” that Sabathia was done for the rest of the 2014 season and even entertained the idea that his career may be over, and if not for good, at least with the Yankees.
“He’s going to see Dr. James Andrews a week from Monday,” Girardi said. “Surgery is always a possibility when you have a degenerative knee. I’m not exactly sure if he was to have surgery what it would be, that’s yet to be determined.”
As we have learned via multiple pitchers across the league this season, going to see Dr. Andrews is usually a bad sign so Girardi’s assumptions may not be too far-fetched.
The Yankees will still owe Sabathia $23 million and $25 million over the next two seasons. The team has a $25 million option for 2017 with a $5 million buy out.
Sabathia who will turn 34 later this month is 208-119 with a 3.63 ERA over 14 seasons. He won the Cy Young award for the Cleveland Indians in 2007.