Posted on May 23, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine

New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia
Image via cbssports.com

Despite recently taking over first place in the AL East, the New York Yankees only seem to see the number of players on their Injured List grow and grow. On Thursday, starter CC Sabathia joined that ever-growing list. The 38-year-old is once again dealing with knee pain that has become too much to ignore. It’s the fifth time in the last six seasons that knee problems have forced Sabathia to miss time, becoming an almost annual occurrence.

Sabathia has been dealing with the knee pain for his last few starts. Given how many other players the Yankees have on the IL, he did his best to push through it as long as possible. But after barely getting through five innings of work against Baltimore, giving up four earned runs on six hits, Sabathia and the Yankees decided it was time to get some rest and heal.

“We have so many injuries, and to kind of pile this on there kind of sucks right now, but this is just something that I need to take care of,” Sabathia said after Wednesday’s game. “Probably take some time just to get the medicine in there and let it kind of work its magic.”

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The past two seasons, Sabathia has missed less than two weeks of action after going on the Injured List with knee trouble. However, he usually holds out until August before needing a rest. This year, he’ll miss time at the end of May at a time when the last thing the Yankees need is another player on the IL. Nevertheless, Sabathia is confident that he’ll be able to return in short order.

“[The knee] always hurts pretty bad when it’s like this,” said Sabathia. “I would say [the pain] is in the middle. But no, I’m not concerned. I’ve dealt with this before, the medicine’s worked, the brace has worked and I feel pretty good.”

Over his first eight starts, Sabathia is 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA. He’s pitched more than five innings in just two of those eight starts, so he’s no longer going deep in games. But he’s been a steady and reliable member of the New York rotation, something they’ve needed at a time when both Luis Severino and James Paxton on the IL.

Of course, Sabathia’s absence for at least 10 days will leave the Yankees even more short-handed in the rotation. Severino won’t be available until later this summer. Paxton has also been slow to return from his knee injury and isn’t going to rush himself back. Youngster Jonathan Loaisiga is also out of the mix because of a shoulder issue. That leaves the Yankees with few options beyond Masahiro Tanaka, Domingo German, and the struggling JA Happ.

To their credit, the Yankees have been undeterred by their injuries, currently sitting 14 games over .500 with a 2-game cushion in the AL East. However, the temporary loss of Sabathia is yet another challenge to overcome. The team’s starting rotation is temporarily down to three members, which will likely require reinforcements from triple-A. In the meantime, they can only hope Sabathia is as quick to return from this knee problem as he has been in past years. Right now, he’s not somebody they can afford to be without for very long.

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