CC Sabathia goes on DL with elbow inflammation; Yanks acquire Derek Lowe
TORONTO -- For the second time in less than two months, CC Sabathia is headed to the disabled list.
And although Joe Girardi described the team's concern as "low-level,'' two DL stints in that stretch -- this time because of inflammation in the Yankees ace's left elbow -- can't be casually dismissed.
Rookie David Phelps is expected to take Sabathia's spot and start Monday night against Texas. The Yankees also brought in veteran insurance Saturday evening by acquiring righthander Derek Lowe, recently released by the Indians.
Girardi made the Sabathia announcement after his team beat the Blue Jays, 5-2, for its fourth straight victory. Ivan Nova turned in a standout performance after struggling in recent weeks, but the Sabathia news overshadowed Nova's outing.
"It's pretty low-level because it's not like it got any worse,'' Girardi said. "He wants to pitch on Monday.'' Instead, Sabathia, 12-3 with a 3.56 ERA, will see the doctor and possibly receive a cortisone shot Monday.
Indications are that Lowe, 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA with the Indians, initially will work out of the bullpen when his contract is completed, which is expected to occur Monday.
"Still threw some decent sinkers,'' an opposing team's scout said of Lowe, who last started July 31. "You never know. Really nothing to lose.''
General manager Brian Cashman did not return a call seeking comment on the busy day. Sabathia, through a member of the team's media relations staff, said he will speak Sunday morning.
"We're going to have to deal with it, that's the bottom line,'' Girardi said after Sabathia joined Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera on the disabled list. "We don't want to, but we need to have him healthy. If we're going to continue to move on, we're going to need to have him healthy.''
Girardi said the stiffness first occurred Aug. 5, two days after Sabathia's three-hitter against the Mariners. He was given an MRI, which came back clean, and Sabathia made his next scheduled start Wednesday in Detroit. In a move that seemed a bit unusual at the time, Girardi pulled him after 94 pitches in the middle of an inning partly out of concern about aggravating the soreness, although Sabathia reported no issues afterward.
But when he threw a flat-ground session Friday, the stiffness returned, engendering discussion much of Saturday morning that continued after the game. Finally, against Sabathia's wishes, the decision was made to put him on the DL.
"It's not like it's gotten worse; it just kind of stayed the same, was somewhat similar,'' Girardi said of why his concern level is low. "And the fact he was able to throw somewhat of a side [Friday] and felt a little bit better today. But the fact that it's still there a little bit concerned us, and we didn't want him to make that start on Monday . . . Our concern is it didn't go away.''
Sabathia's DL date was backdated to Thursday, and Girardi's hope is that he'll be able to pitch Aug. 24 when the Yankees open a three-game series in Cleveland.
Sabathia, who pitched at least 230 innings each of the previous five seasons, was on the DL with a left groin strain from June 25-July 16, his first DL stint since a right oblique strain put him there in 2006.
"He wanted to pitch on Monday. It's a tough decision,'' Girardi said. "If it's October, I'm not sure what we do here. I think he makes his start. But as I said, the fact it came back is a little concerning and we want to wipe it out.''