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Sabathia says he feels fine, but Yankees being cautious

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McClatchy Tribune
June 23, 2009
— CC Sabathia didn’t want to come out of Sunday’s game against the Marlins in the second inning, and he certainly doesn’t want to miss Friday’s scheduled start against the Mets at Citi Field.

But Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Monday that the team’s level of caution with its $161 million ace and the biceps tendinitis that crept up in Miami has not changed just because Sabathia has an admirable bulldog streak.


“Ultimately, it’s not his call,” Cashman said in a telephone interview. “It’s the manager’s call in consultation with the medical staff. If there’s any concern, then he won’t start.”


Sabathia and some of his teammates were in Atlanta Monday as the Yankees enjoyed a day off before starting a three-game series with the Braves tonight. Other Yankees took advantage of the opportunity to scatter after Sunday’s series finale with the Marlins and will rejoin the team Tuesday.


Sabathia had treatment Monday—but no medical tests—and felt all right, according to Cashman.


“He’s feeling good, but until he does his bullpen session, there’s probably nothing for us to learn,” Cashman said. “He feels like he’s starting Friday, but we’ll wait and see.”


Complicating matters for the Yankees is the five-game suspension currently being served by A.J. Burnett. The original plan was to have Sabathia open the Subway Series on Friday, which would have been Burnett’s turn, and use Burnett on Saturday after his suspension ends.


But that was before Joe Girardi took the ball from Sabathia just eight batters into his outing Sunday. Girardi had been tipped off by catcher Jorge Posada that Sabathia didn’t have his usual velocity. Sabathia talked Girardi out of removing him during a mound visit before the start of the inning, but two batters later, the big lefty was heading to the dugout.


If Sabathia can’t go Friday, the Yankees could pull Alfredo Aceves out of the bullpen for a spot start. Phil Hughes seems like an unlikely choice because he has become an important man in Girardi’s bullpen—so important that the manager was saving him for the late innings in Sunday’s 6-5 loss instead of using him in long relief after Sabathia’s early exit.


Girardi said he was holding back Hughes because he didn’t want to use Brian Bruney, who pitched Friday and warmed up Saturday. Bruney is recovering from two stints on the disabled list with elbow soreness.


Girardi also didn’t want to push Hughes, who is just getting used to pitching out of the bullpen and had thrown an inning Saturday.


The Yankees will use similar caution with Sabathia, who doesn’t really want it.



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