CC Sabathia is among the more durable pitchers in the game and his first DL stint as a Yankee is about to end after missing time with a strained left groin.
So when he spoke for roughly three and a half minutes at his corner locker, he spoke like a man antsy to get going Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.
“It sucks [being on the disabled list],” Sabathia said. “You feel like you’re not contributing to the team. But it’s part of the game and I’m healthy now and ready to go out tomorrow.”
Sabathia said he felt good numerous times during his session with reporters, but did concede the three-week layoff helped his arm.
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“I’m going to throw until they tell me to stop,” Sabathia said. “I felt fine after a couple of bullpen [sessions]. My arm feels good. I think the rest was good for the arm, more sore than my legs.”
Sabathia has a quirky history with the Blue Jays. Besides being 7-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last eight starts against Toronto, Sabathia also has defeated them once in each of the last eight seasons, a mark he has equaled with Jack Morris (1979-86) and Jon Garland (2001-08). He can tie a record with Scott McGregor (1978-86) by winning Tuesday.
He also is among the best at shutting down Jose Bautista. Bautista is 1-for-19 with eight strikeouts in his matchups with Sabathia.
Putting those factors aside, the Yankees will likely monitor his pitch count if they feel it is necessary and look for Sabathia to command his fastball from both sides of the plate.
“That’s my biggest concern when you haven’t pitched for 15 days,” Girardi said. “And one other thing, just stay healthy please. Stay healthy and we’ll get through the rest of it.”
Setback for Gardner again
Wednesday will mark the three-month anniversary of Brett Gardner’s last game and it doesn’t appear that he will be returning by the end of the month or even early August.
Gardner’s strange saga with his strained right elbow continued Monday when he walked into the team’s complex in Tampa and felt some soreness. He played a simulated game Sunday and was going to do some more rehab work Monday before getting shut down.
“He came up a little sore today,” Girardi said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and then go from there. It is a concern because it has happened before. Hopefully he can get through that.”
Gardner last appeared in a major league game on April 17 against Minnesota. He had two hits that raised his average to .321, but his injury saga began when he made a sliding catch in the third inning.
The next day he tried to work through it by taking batting practice against live pitching and again in the batting cage. It was then that the injury appeared to worsen.
“The doctors have all come up with the same diagnosis,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It is puzzling and we expect he would get through this. Our hope is that he will get through this.”
Blue Jays make first visit to Stadium
Monday marked the Blue Jays’ first visit to the Bronx, which is strange since they have made three trips every season since the unbalanced schedule was instituted in 2001.
However, this is not the first instance of their season debut at the Bronx coming after the All-Star break. In 2004, they played a two-game series on July 21-22 and then returned a little over two weeks later.
“I never really thought it one way or the other as it being better or worse,” Girardi said. “I think the time you play a club is more important.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.