A week ago, the Yankees placed CC Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list and sent him to Dr. James Andrews.
It wasn’t for anything related to Tommy John surgery, which has already claimed 19 pitchers this season. Instead, it was to get Sabathia’s right knee re-evaluated.
What Andrews found on Tuesday was the left-hander has degenerative knee problems which required a cortisone shot and stem cell injections.
Sabathia pitched injured last weekend in Milwaukee and likely during other portions of a season that has seen him produce a 5.28 ERA despite a strikeout rate of 9.4 hitters per nine innings.
Sabathia returned to New York Sunday but was not seen before the game. The Yankees said after Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader he received more treatment.
On Saturday, the Yankees said he would be on crutches, he would be re-evaluated Monday and they would be surprised if he returned as soon as he is eligible to come off the DL.
Surgery might be possible in the future, but as of Sunday the Yankees were not thinking about that.
“I think anytime you deal with a degenerative knee issue at some point in your life, something’s probably going to flare up,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I’m not a doctor, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen but it’s like when you have a degenerative back eventually it gets to the point where usually you have to have something done, so we’ll have to see. I have not been told that but I think you have to wait and see how this all works.”
Beltran headed for Dr. Andrews
Anytime a fan hears a player is headed to visit Andrews, they fear the worst.
The latest Yankee who will visit him is outfielder Carlos Beltran on Tuesday. The Yankees are downplaying the concern by saying he merely wants a second opinion on the hyperextended right elbow that landed him on the DL Thursday.
“Players get second opinions,” Girardi said. “It’s their options and I’m not sure where he’s going after that.”
The Yankees said Beltran would have gone last week but Andrews was not available. They also noted Beltran had another cortisone injection Saturday and is feeling better.
Girardi heads home for a week
The quirks in having to play interleague games all season offer some benefits. For the Yankees that means a week in Chicago, a city often associated with Girardi.
The Yankees will play two against the Cubs on the North Side and then spend next weekend playing four against the White Sox on the South Side.
It will mark Girardi’s second visit to Wrigley Field since becoming Yankee manager and first since re-signing with the Yankees in the offseason after the Cubs attempted to pursue him.
Besides playing on the 1989 Cubs, who won the NL East in his rookie season, Girardi also grew up in Peoria, Illinois and played collegiately at Northwestern.
“It’s always exciting for me because I have memories growing up with my father and little brother going to games as a little boy rooting for my heroes,” Girardi said. “Realizing a dream, being drafted by the Cubs, playing for them being a part of a playoff team my first year there, so it always [is good] and I have family there — family and friends, people that I went to college with. There’s still a lot of people around so I will see them. I’m getting texts from guys I played baseball with at Northwestern saying we’ll be at this game, we’ll be at that game. I always look forward to it.”
Girardi said he grew up idolizing Cubs third baseman Ron Santo and outfielder Jose Cardenal and expects to hear some of the same cheers he gave his favorite players.
“I’m not sure what to expect. It’s always been good,” Girardi said. “People of Chicago have always been great to me. So I’m not sure what will happen. So we’ll wait and see I guess.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.